If you follow the news, by this time you have probably heard about the tragic kidnapping and murder of an innocent 10-year old girl named Hailey. Our city is reeling with grief and devastated by this senseless, random act. As a mother, I am broken by her passing. It has made me feel vulnerable and raw in a way that few acts of violence ever have.
But I don't want to focus on evil. There are plenty of news stories about evil.
I want to focus on love.
Candlelight vigils are something I've seen many other towns do in times of crisis, but I had never participated in one myself. Saturday, our city came together in the most beautiful show of compassion and solidarity I have ever seen. Hailey, with her bright eyes and her big smile, taught us how to love one another through our pain. How to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and give of our time, our courage, our patience.
I am proud of my city. My street. My family.
I saw things that I have never witnessed in my 39 years of living in this town. I saw people sharing in a way that can only be described as supernatural. I believe in God. But I felt God in a way I hadn't experienced before that night.
I'm not too heavy-handed with Bible verses on this blog, but the verses from Isaiah 61:3 rang through my heart that night:
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."
Hailey, we love you. We miss you. We hold up your Mama in her grief. And we will never, ever forget.
Hug your children. Then, to really know my city, watch this...
It's the best I could do.
Please remember Hailey's family in your prayers.
And be kind to one another.