The tragedy at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado for the midnight showing of Batman The Dark Knight Rises should bring us great pause. Yesterday when people took to social media to post their sorrow, concerns and express prayers for the victims friends and families, I had to shut things down. I had to delete my initial post of concern because I could see from comments that followed a debate about gun control and the right to bear arms was about to get underway. That was not my intent for my post. I did not, and still do not want to debate about guns or if parents should bring their young children to the movies. I wanted to focus on the lives lost and the innocence stolen. Going to the movie theater is about escapism – diving into a world of imagination and adventure for a couple of hours. It’s not about diving for your life and trying to escape from a lone psychotic person who tried to embody the title of the movie. His mission was accomplished – it became a deadly dark night indeed.
By now many of us have heard the story about one of the 12 deceased victims Jessica Redfield. This aspiring sports broadcaster weeks ago escaped the wrath of a gunman in the Eaton Center in Toronto. The words she expressed in her final blog about the Eaton Center shooting is what the world needs to focus on right now. That is what I want to share today, and every day:
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.