Where those who had felt rejected
By society, by family and friends, by faith communities
And drop their pretense
And crack jokes
And just be
Became a killing field
For one whose sight was so blinded
By the certainty that doing away
With the lives of others
Was the only way;
Who came armed and dangerous
And shooting bullets of pride
and self-inflicted righteous bigotry
Ended the lives of others
That he did not even know.
Blood flowed on the dance floor
Injured prayed they would survive
Others were trapped and hunted down
And when the smoke cleared
And the strong arm of the law had done its job
It was time to assess the carnage
And tell a grieving America
That once again
Families were faced with the heartbreak
And the shock of senseless loss and grief.
Guns don’t kill people by themselves
But hatred kills more than the body
And LBGTQ was splashed in blood
Across the target
Of a gun.
I cringe at the scene my imagination creates
And if I cringe, how much more awful
Is the reality
Faced by first responders
By the traumatized
By the doctors and nurses
By the clergy and chaplains
By the families
By the spouses
By the partners
And in a magic kingdom where children play
There are snakes slashing at the innocent;
And a place once considered safe
Is now a shrine
Cast by tears
Built by memories of a terrible night
When evil cut the lives of our brothers and sisters.
“He saved others, he cannot save himself”
Was the taunt of those who wanted to
Shut down the astounding message
That God had arrived in person
To forgive the sins of all.
And indeed, Jesus did not save himself from the agony
And shame of betrayal and death on a cross.
His blood flowed freely
And His mother grieved the death of her only Son
So that in our own day
And in all the days of tragedy yet to come
Those who had been rejected
Those whose lives had been discounted
Those who felt unwelcome, unwanted, unworthy
Might claim solidarity and solace
In a heart broken by the sin of the whole world
In a heart mended by the love for the whole world.
A reflection on the tragedy in Orlando, FL, June 12, 2016 where many were killed in an attack on a nightclub frequented by members of the LBGTQ community.