I am stunned. There are no words that can describe the true horror of man's inhumanity to man. I think that over and over when I hear news of war and strife. But to have it at my doorstep, a mere mile and a half from our home is truly chilling.
My heart weeps for the people senselessly gunned down in last night's shooting, for their families and friends, and for our community. It is horrible. To put the word terrible before tragedy is an oxymoron, but that's what this is. We know people who attend Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church; they are neighbors, friends, even just the smiling face we see when walking up Calhoun St to the library. They are God-loving people and these nine were just seeking fellowship and a chance to enrich their spiritual life. They were not looking for, or expecting to find, the bullet with their name on it. I hope they did not suffer greatly, but passed quickly into the arms of the God they loved -- safe in the arms of Jesus.
We often laugh that South Carolina can tend to seem like the butt of a lot of jokes: our walk-about governor, Miss SC Teen USA's rambling discourse on maps, the guy who was hit in the head with a chair for belching at Taco Bell. But we have good stuff, and good people, here too. One native son recently just gave 800,000 to fund every single classroom project in SC. (And yes, Stephen Colbert is a Charleston native.) We've got other beautiful people, too, living in this beautiful place. So when something horrific happens, the contrast is even worse. But the response, the way people reach out, is beautiful.
While I was listening to the news, trying to absorb it all, praying for all impacted by this tragedy, I couldn't sit still. I picked up my pen, and combined the Pysanky symbols of protection, safety, the Trinity, and strength with images of my Lowcountry, and representations for each of the nine victims. The hashtag #charlestonstrong covers it well. We will get through this, maybe not over it, ever, but we will overcome, once again. And in that growth, that wretched scar on our society, we will stay strong as a community with heart, that cares for each other.