Such a Time as This

Yesterday morning, while I was quietly getting ready to leave my apartment, these thoughts came into my mind, "What if today is your last day? Are you ready to go? How would it happen?" I told myself I was not prepared but hoped God would accept me anyway and walked out the door.
As many of my friends know, my Monday and Wednesday afternoons are devoted to a blonde, blue-eyed angel named Isla. Jacqueline has graciously agreed to allow me to babysit Isla in her office, while she tries to work. Jacqueline has been a tremendous help to me this semester as I desperately try to anticipate the needs of a five-month old infant.
As I was watching Isla on Monday, Jacqueline informed me about the first shooting at the Ambler-Johnson Hall on VA Tech's campus. ( My brother's fiancee's last name is Ambler) I was dumbfounded. I can't comprehend why an individual would want to inflict pain on another human intentionally. There is so much suffering in the world already. Why create more?
I thought I was stubborn, but I have met my match in Isla. This little princess loves the outdoors and expects me to walk her, despite the temperature, until she falls asleep. Monday was no exception. After returning from our walk, Jacqueline told me there had been another shooting and the mortality rate was 32; 33 counting the shooter. Naturally, my heart ached for the families and friends of those affected. During such a time as this, one searches for the appropriate words, or seeks to do the right thing. I often feel lame and incompetent as I seek to comfort those who mourn for loved ones departed.
Although I have plenty of complaints regarding GW, I have been impressed by the outreach our university has shown the VA Tech community. Today, Jacqueline and I surrounded a banner, signed by a multitude of fellow students, that will be given to VA Tech as a symbol of our support. We also received a maroon and orange ribbon (VA Tech's colors) to wear in honor of the fallen. Tonight the student body is gathering for a candlelight vigil in Kogan Plaza to discuss the tragedy and remember those taken.
As the media continues to release information about the victims I am humbled by the stories of courage and selflessness being reported. Two stories in particular touched me. These I have included below, courtesy of CNN.

Liviu Librescu, 76, was a Holocaust survivor who, his son said, will be remembered as a hero. He "blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu told the AP. "Students started opening windows and jumping out." The elder Librescu, a professor at Virginia Tech, was recognized internationally for his research in aeronautical engineering, the head of the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department at Virginia Tech told the AP. He was born and received his advanced degrees in Romania.

Ryan Clark, 22, was known as "Stack" to his friends in the Marching Virginians college band. The Virginia Tech senior came from Martinez in Georgia and was a "true example of 'The Spirit Of Tech'," according to a message posted on the band's Web site. He majored in biology and English, and carried a 4.0 grade-point average, according to the coroner in Columbia County, Georgia. Clark was a resident assistant at West Ambler Johnston Hall, the dormitory where he and another person were shot dead at 7:15 a.m. Monday. He had been planning to pursue a doctorate in psychology with a focus in cognitive neuroscience, according to the Marching Virginians Web site.

I am not sure why events, like this, occur. I don't know why a 4.0 student, and a holocaust survivor had to die in such a horrible manner but I am comforted by the words of author Nikki Giovanni, who spoke at the VA Tech memorial service today,
"We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while," said Giovanni, an English professor at the southwestern Virginia university. "We are not moving on. We are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech," she said. "We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly. We are brave enough to bend to cry, and sad enough to know we must laugh again."

Like Marshall before, those in the academy are confident this institution will rally, and prevail. May God strengthen and bless them as they seek to do so. Go Hokies!

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Jacqueline said...

That was such a sad week. I hope the families of the victims have been able to find at least a little peace and closure.

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