Thursday, April 19, 2007

Even Closer to Home

There were five other couples in our adoption home study group. Our common struggles and hopes for having a family brought us close together. L & M were the first of us to bring a child home. E, their son, was such a beautiful baby and is now such a handsome little boy. I knew that Lisa worked for Virginia Tech. She took that job after E was born. She was so excited about it. One of her responsibilities is planning the tail gate parties before home football games. I called her and left a message to make sure that she was okay. I didn’t hear back from her; but, since I didn’t know exactly where she worked, I wasn’t worried.

This morning I received an email from her at work. She worked at Norris Hall and was there when that hell was unleashed there Monday morning. I’ve read and heard many first hand accounts of that day, but this was written to me from my friend. My feelings are so conflicted. I wish to God that I knew where she worked so I could have taken off work and gotten down there to help with E and do whatever M might have needed. On the other hand, if I had known I’m not sure how I could have lived waiting to hear from her.

Some of you know that it was my building (Norris Hall) that was under attack and some don't so please bear with me as I try to write you an hands are trembling. It's been so traumatic and I think more and more of the events that took place are hitting us worse now than when it happened on Monday…

Our office met yesterday on campus and although it was really hard to go on campus, after seeing everyone and knowing they were okay, I really think it helped with some of the pain we are going through right now …

This morning we are going in the building to get some essential things and I ask that you pray for each of us. I say now that I think I can do it but of course don't know what will happen once I get to the building. …I almost feel the need to stand in front of the building and let it all out.

Our building will be closed for a long time… we don't want to go back and hope it will be torn down. I don't know when I will feel safe again.

Also pray for E… He has been traumatized not only by the Morva incident and now this. First thing Monday when I didn't pick him up as usual and when he overheard M tell someone that it was my building..... he asked M was I killed…

Please continue to pray for us and the families.........

Last night I checked Drudge. I went to the link about the package the killer (he doesn’t deserve to have his name used or remembered) sent to NBC. I don’t know why I didn’t expect something similar to what I saw, but I was shocked when I saw the picture he had taken of himself in that jacket with guns in both hands. I gasped and choked at the same time. This sick b@st*rd created a life and image for himself to be known by after his finished his sadistic rampage by wimping out and taking his own life. It made me sick to know that I was seeing what those poor men and women saw in their final moments. I had to turn away from the news report – the same reaction I have when watching movies with torture in them.

Knowing now that my friend was in the same building with that maniac only intensifies my disgust. Right now I don’t care that he was troubled or had a terrible childhood. I don’t care who the “you” he mentioned in that tape was – if his words can be believed in the first place. I hate what he has done to all of his victims and family. I want to spit in his face. Actually, I want to do worse. Mostly, I want him to be forced to watch the scene of the 4 year-old boy I once had the pleasure of cradling in my arms asking his father if his mommy got killed.

In my heart I know those thoughts are useless. They are simply an extension of wanting to lash out and being unable to do so. In my anger and disgust last night and again this morning, I have reminded myself that he was someone’s son. As much as I might take heart in the image of him standing in front of a wrathful God, I implore the Loving God caring now for the dead and grieving to care for him as well. More than anyone else, Cho Seung-Hui needs the mercy and forgiveness of his Father.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We Are Virginia Tech!

You cannot destroy our spirit. You cannot kill our souls.

Man, you just lost my vote

I wondered which of the 2008 presidential hopefuls would take the tragedy that took place at Virginia Tech and attempt to make some political capital. I must say, though, that I'm outraged at the way in which this happened. Comparing the sadistic slaughter of innocent lives to the "verbal abuse" of Dom Imus? Is he serious? Is he so lost inside of his own intellect that he cannot see reality for what it is? Was he concerned about the two days of in your face media coverage he "lost?" WTF?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Outside of Blacksburg I doubt that there is no place more dedicated and devoted to Virginia Tech than the Roanoke Valley. Traffic is a mess during the football season when there is a Hokie home game and there is no where you can turn where you don’t see a Virginia Tech flag, car magnet, sticker, or article of clothing. One of my wonderful neighbors played for VT in his day and you can’t help but get in the Hokie spirit when you see his house decorated for the football season.

Just as the jubilation of winning a championship reverberates throughout my adopted hometown, yesterday’s tragedy filled us with terror and sadness. Three of my co-workers have children studying at VT. I called them to make sure that their children were okay. Thankfully, they were. I wasn’t the only one frantically making phone calls. It breaks my heart to know that not all of those phone calls met with the same relief I experienced. During my lunch break yesterday I went to a local mall to walk with a friend. The mall is usually full of activity. It was shockingly somber there. It was so quiet that we overheard a young woman on the phone trying to find information on a friend or loved one.

Unlike with the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine, and September 11, I have always been a safe distance physically and emotionally from the tragedies. This is not to say that I didn’t mourn for my fellow citizens and their families. I most definitely did. It’s just that then I could not possibly fathom the affect such a violent tragedy has on the greater community. Southwest Virginia, which includes Blacksburg/Christiansburg and the Roanoke Valley, is a tight knit community. It seems that we can’t leave the house without running into someone we know or someone who knows us through a common friend. It was in this way that the Virginia Tech Massacre has hit home most directly for me.

I received an email this morning from L, a dear young woman I have twice hired as a contractor. She is the first person I have mentored as a technical writer and I’m very proud of where she’s taken her career. One of the first things I learned about L, other than that she is Greek and proud, is that she is an avid and dedicated member of VT’s Tae Kwon Do club. Even though L’s no longer a student at VT, she was voted to be the club’s treasurer this year. The whole club was like an extended family to her. L emailed to let me know that she is safe. Unfortunately, two of her fellow Tae Kwon Do club members were killed in the massacre. L lost two sisters yesterday. I grieve for them because I grieve for Leslie. Her world, like that of so many others, will never be the same. There is nothing I can say or do to change that.

I truly feel as though I am living figuratively and literally in the valley of the shadow of death. For how many students and facility will it be impossible now not to fear evil when they walk into classrooms or enter their dormitories? Who will feel safe this spring as the community attempts to celebrate graduation? How many parents now dread to leave or keep their children away at college – not because they are leaving the nest, but because they are scared that they might be killed? When will the fear of evil leave Blacksburg?

President Bush invoked our loving God yesterday. I do as well when I pray that someday soon the green pastures of the beautiful campus and surrounding farm lands will be what people think about when Blacksburg is mentioned. I pray for the rest and restoration of all of our souls. Loving God, do not let the sadistic act of one disturbed young man destroy the beauty of your creation in Blacksburg.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Signing Off

I'm taking an extended vacation from blogging. I'm not sure when I'll post here or on The Jennifer Tree again. What I feel like writing most of the time I don't feel like making available to the world (boy, do I think highly of myself, eh?) I'm thinking that signals a time for introspection without considering what other people might say. I'll still be dropping by your blogs from time to time ~ just not as often as I used to. Feel free to send an email. I really would love to hear from you.

If you're just dying to read my writing, I will still be working on my 52 Books or Bust. I'm really enjoying that project and I'm always looking for suggestions on what to read next. Feel free to drop by anytime.

I love and appreciate you all. Have a happy spring.