I don’t have the words.

I saw this on Twitter:

It is confirmed that @sully_2003 (Alex Sullivan) was killed last night in #Aurora. It was his 27th birthday. He was a husband & beloved son.

— HopeMob (@hope) July 21, 2012

I went to Alex’s Twitter page. This was the last tweet:

#TheDarkKnightRises @Reel_Nerdsoh man one hour till the movie and its going to be the best BIRTHDAY ever

— alex sullivan (@sully_2003) July 20, 2012

I cried. He was my age. I tweeted this:

Just read the last tweet of a 27yr old man killed in Aurora. He was so excited 2 c the movie; said it would be the best birthday ever. I…

— Katy Parks (@katyhelena) July 21, 2012

…can’t tell you how much that makes my heart ache. Praying with tears for his family and all affected by this terrible tragedy.

— Katy Parks (@katyhelena) July 21, 2012

Writing about anything else this week seemed too trivial. Writing about the tragedy itself…well, I found out I don’t have the words.

For more information on the 2012 Aurora shooting, click this link.
For solid ways to help the victims and families, consider donations through HopeMob.org.
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Mental Health Care = Priceless?

So I have a friend who is looking into seeing a counselor. Nothing is “majorly” wrong, he just (like most of us) has some things to work through. As someone who has seen many counselors, I know how much it has benefited my life and helped me become a healthier, stronger person. So my friend was given a recommendation of a great Christian counselor to see. As he looked into it, each session would cost $110. Insurance wouldn’t help pay for any of that until he had spent over $800. His options? To look elsewhere and see what he can afford.

I went to buy one of four prescription medicines I take. My employer had just changed my insurance, so before I handed them my new card, I saw that one of month’s worth of the generic prescription medicine I was about to buy was over $125. I am incredibly blessed that insurance helps cover it, because otherwise I’m not sure I could afford to be on one, much less the four medicines I take.

As I sat in the drive-through waiting to get my medicine, I was struck by the sadness of what mental health care costs. I know of people who deal with incredibly difficult issues, who really need physical and mental care…except they can’t afford it. So what’s worse than being depressed, bi-polar, or just working through hard times? The added stress and frustration of not being able to get the help you need to make it through.

In my counseling class last Monday, my professor talked about the privilege we have of walking with people in their pain. That’s what counselors get to do. That’s what I want to do. It makes me sad that we have to put a price tag on that process.

I don’t know what I’ll be like as a counselor, or even how/where I’ll be using those counseling skills. But I do know, if possible, I want to make it affordable. Yes, I know that medicines and professional care can/has to/should cost a little. But I hope that even if we aren’t professionals, we are willing to reach out to people who are going through hard times. Because no one should have to pay for someone to walk with them through their pain.

Light Up The Sky

There has been a lot of pain this week. I have seen and heard of people facing cancer, of those who have faced taking loved ones to the emergency room for a variety of reasons. I know of a man who’s father just lost his job, and of another man who is dealing with the ongoing complications from his father’s open heart surgery.

I know of a man whose daughter discovered her child had died in her womb. In addition to losing her baby, during the procedure to remove it, there was a medical mistake that ended up in destroying and removing part of her small intestines. Now she hangs in the balance, fighting for her life. She was able to have the 5% of her small intestines remaining reconnected to the large intestine, but a transplant will probably be necessary in the future. She will have a long and difficult healing ahead of her, emotionally and physically.

I know of the people who fight the inner battles, the ones that don’t take them to a doctor or surgery or the emergency room. They suffer through their own emotional pain, because of a broken relationship, because of hurt in a relationship, because of their own struggle to accept and forgive themselves. These are the people who look into the mirror and despair of ever being who they wish they could be. These are the hopeless, the ones who silently curse and condemn themselves daily, or the ones who cry out long sobs at the end of the day when they are alone in their apartment, kneeling on the floor. These are the ones who fight to live day to day, to live the fullness and wholeness they long for.

I have seen all of these this week. I can identify with some. But most of all I am overwhelmed by the pain of it. We each have a journey; we each  face our own private struggle. And I ask what can possibly be done in the face of such trials and wounds.

I heard this song on the radio this week. It doesn’t make everything ok; it doesn’t give answers to the pain. But to me, it offered a reminder of Hope.

May we also remember to help light up the sky for others, that we may make this journey and find strength in walking together.

When I’m feeling all alone
With so far to go
The signs are no where on this road
Guiding me home
When the night is closing in
Is falling on my skin
Oh God will You come close?
(Chorus)
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me You are with me
I I I can’t deny
No I can’t deny that You are right here with me
You’ve opened my eyes
So I can see You all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me
That You are with me

When stars are hiding in the clouds
I don’t feel them shining
When I can’t see You beyond my doubt
The silver lining
When I’ve almost reached the end
Like a flood You’re rushing in
Your love is rushing in

(Chorus)

So I run straight into Your arms
You’re the bright and morning sun
To show Your love there’s nothing You won’t do

(Chorus)

That You are with me

The good and the bad

Life hurts. There are just parts of it that really suck. Look at enough people’s lives and you’ll find more pain than can fill twice those many lifetimes. There’s always something to hurt over, to cry over, if you care enough to care. Some people’s lives, especially when they’re young, make me want to ask why they have to go through all this.

Some people look at the pain and suffering in the world and say that this serves as proof that there can be no God, or at least not a loving God they would want to worship. Guess what. I believe in a loving God. And I believe in a painful world. I believe in a God who cries over the injustices and pain with us. I also believe in a God who loved us enough to give us free will, who loved us enough not to rob us of that or change everything we did once we ruined the world he gave us. So if we blow things and create a hard world for ourselves, why do we go blame God? We want all the credit for the good things we manage to squeeze out of life, but when our actions contribute to an overall ruining of society, it’s proof that God doesn’t exist. Have enough guts to acknowledge that God can be God over both the good and the bad. Just because you can’t prove him doesn’t mean he’s not there. Who wants a God who fits into a logical equation anyway? I certainly don’t. But I do believe in a God who cancels the equations by allowing us our free will and still finding a way to cause all the evil to somehow work out for an ultimate good.

If I’d created people who constantly were turning away from me to run after their selfish, petty games, I certainly wouldn’t still be trying to redeem what they’ve done. I wouldn’t be trying to redeem them. But he does. I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty amazing.