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There Is No Joy In Blacksburg

I'm struggling with how to deal with the tragic events in Blacksburg. In fact, much of the blogosphere is struggling with this. I exchange email with several bloggers on a regular basis. I may get literally 50 emails a day from other bloggers. There is much debate about how this situation should be dealt with. Some feel we should keep blogging about sports and ignore it to give people a place to get away from the horrific event. Others say this is too big to just ignore. Obviously, I fall in the latter category. My problem is I struggle with what to say about it, so I'm kind of just thinking out loud here. Forgive me if I ramble.

I realize people deal with things like this by ignoring it and thinking about something else. If you're hoping to get that here today, I'm sorry. There will be no sports today. I said yesterday we're all Hokies. There is no joy in Blacksburg, and thus there is no joy in Happy Valley either. Regular blogging will resume sometime later. Maybe this evening. Maybe tomorrow. I don't know when, but it has to feel right. It's just too soon to go back to talking about spring practice, recruiting, and apartment fights. None of that matters today.

Normally the college football blogosphere is a buzz with friendly, and sometimes nasty, banter. Rival fans from rival schools poke fun and insults at each other. Sometimes good natured fun turns ugly. Heated words are exchanged. Feelings are hurt. Enemies are born. Hatred festers. Today is not the day to talk about rivalries. There are no rivalries today, because like I said yesterday, we're all Hokies today.

Indeed there is no joy in Happy Valley, because there is suffering in Blacksburg. Although I've never set foot on the Virginia Tech campus, I feel their pain. I feel anger in my heart today. I'm angry at the person responsible for this. I'm angry at the people in charge who let this happen. I'm angry at the people who must have seen the warning signs and didn't do anything. I'm angry at myself. Angry that while this cold blooded monster was counting his ammunition and running through the entire scenario in his head the night before, I was completely wasting my time being stupid. I'm angry that I can't protect my family 24 hours a day 365 days a year and there are people out there who would harm them like this.

I'm angry at God for letting this happen. But I know that God has a plan, and things happen for reasons we don't always completely understand. I've been a Christian long enough to know that God always answers prayer. It's just hard for our puny minds to understand that sometimes the answer is "No". There's a Bible verse, Psalm 23, that helps me cope with situations like this. I'm not sharing this with you to evangelize you. I'm only sharing this because it's a mechanism I use to deal with tragedy. Perhaps it can give us all some comfort.

The LORD is my shepherd;
         I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
         He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
         He leads me in the paths of righteousness
         For His name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I will fear no evil;
         For You are with me;
         Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
         You anoint my head with oil;
         My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
         All the days of my life;
         And I will dwell in the house of the LORD

This passage always brings me peace. Hopefully it does the same for you. I weep for the dead and injured, including the poor misguided shooter. I pray that God have mercy on their souls. I pray for the families who will never see their sons and daughters again. May they somehow find peace and comfort in their loss. Normal blogging will return tomorrow with the Blue-White Roundtable. Normal life may never return again.