I was awake a long time on Thursday night, thinking about Garissa.
Thinking about 147 lives taken. Kenya is a country where less than half of all young people attend high school, where less than 10% actually graduate from high school. These students were the best and brightest of their country. The hope of many families to escape poverty. The hope of their country. Have you taken a look at some of their faces?
Thinking about the trauma. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. There were only 815 students at Garissa University. 17% were murdered. Seventeen percent. Every student knows someone gone. Hundreds more forever traumatized, in a country where there is no team of counselors to rush in.
Thinking about how we live in the neighboring country south of Kenya. Thinking about the Christian school my kids attend. Imagining scenarios. I am not a creative person, but it's amazing how imaginative I can be about terrorism.
Kenyans are justifiably angry. They are demanding more security at their schools. "We are not safe!" Kenyan students chanted Tuesday.
We are not safe. Was there ever a truer statement?
We like to think that we are safe. We long for it, and we are lulled into it by the locks on our doors and the airbags in our cars. We like feeling safe, and we like to pretend we are safe because it's just too hard to be afraid all the time.
Until something happens close to us. Columbine, 9/11, Sandy Hook....they made Americans feel unsafe. Garissa is too far away for Americans to be affected, but it's close to me. So yeah, it makes me feel unsafe. Terrorism accomplishes what it sets out to do, doesn't it? Incite terror.
The funny thing is, nothing has actually changed about my life. The danger I am in now is the same that it was a week ago. It's just the facade of safety that has crumbled. I see my world differently. I know, from experience, that after a couple weeks with no other incident, I'll pretend once again that I am safe, and I'll feel pretty good about life.
Which is why these sorts of things are good for me. They jolt me out of my cardboard fortress, and remind me of the reality of life. I am not safe. I never will be. There is nothing I can ever do differently to make myself, and my children, entirely safe. I live in a world that is completely out of my control.
I need this reminder. Because it forces me to take my eyes off the waves and onto my Savior.
The Lord is my light and my salvation--
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life--
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
My safety is in my salvation. My confidence is in knowing this is not my eternal home.