THIS POST was originally shared on FROM THE HEART on June 24, 2016, and I wanted to share it here on the new blog.
On June 12, 2016, we woke up to the news of the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman and the deadliest mass violence against the LGBT community in our county’s history. I spent the 15 minute drive to church that day writing this post:
I’m sorry for the times you weren’t fully loved and accepted for the utter beauty that is your life. I’m sorry for the times that the “love” extended to you had an “if” attached to it. The times that a plan for fixing you was cloaked in an artificial love like saccharine.
I’m sorry that the theology contained inside of concrete walls hurt you and that the message of love in that theology wasn’t expansive enough to send a wrecking ball to destroy those walls.
I’m sorry that love didn’t shine far more brightly than judgement. I’m sorry that layers of tradition and expectation didn’t crack away and make room for you.
I am standing here now in my skin and bones, my fleshly home, uncovered in the open air. No walls, no layers, and I hope that all you see is the light of pure love and acceptance.
And I accept the pure beauty of you; the fearfully and wonderfully made, image-bearer that you are. I see you in your humanity and your divinity, and it is good. And the the cry of my heart, from the center of my core, with every inhale and exhale is, “You are loved, you are whole, be free.”
And if you cannot hear it, cannot feel it, cannot absorb it yet, I will sit holding space for you until you do.
And my heart beat will continue to say, You are loved.
Because you are worth it.
And then honestly, I spent the next few days feeling all the feelings.
Feelings that came from a deep place of pain, knowing what it feels like to face the tragic death of a child. My child didn’t die at the hands of violence, but I could feel the weight of the suddenness, the total unexpectedness of it all. I sat in the same green chair that I sat in for many hours after Mattie died, and all I could do was feel and grieve along with countless mommas and daddys, sisters and brothers, lovers and friends.
All I could do was sit in it and remember the words of my friend John sent to our family on the anniversary of Mattie’s death.
I can’t dare to know exactly how you feel or to understand the magnitude of the sadness in your heart and so I can’t share that very specific mourning space with you, but as much as my love and understanding allow, I am here.
I grieve along with you now, my dear friend. I cry and I scream and my heart testifies in full agreement with yours that none of this is right.
I sit suffering in solidarity with you, here in the absolute wrongness of it all.
In the days to come my husband John and I talked a lot, processed this grief, carried the weight of our pain and the pain of so many others in a very real way.
Very quickly after John came to me and said, “I think I need to write a song.”
My response, “Yes, go write it.”
One of the things that struck us so intensely as parents were the phone calls being made with no answers, the text threads that suddenly ended, and reports from first responders that cell phones could be heard ringing inside the walls of the building after the shooting as loved ones tried to call. (story HERE)
Over the next few days, John would come to me and share as the song began to roll out. It was real and raw and healing- so full of love. We both knew that it needed to be heard. We reached out to the creatives in our lives and last Sunday, a week after this tragedy, our friend Jacquie sat and heard the finished song and offered her talent and support in producing a video of the song.
On Monday, the video was shot, and as we were wrapping up filming, Jacquie said, “You know it would be really good if you got this on iTunes.” So John and I immediately linked arms and within a few hours had lined up studio time with John’s friend James to do the recording. I put on my administrative hat and worked on publishing, copywriting and all that good stuff.
So as this video launches today and this single is made available for purchase, all we can hope is that those who hear it will feel seen and known, loved and accepted.
To those in the LGBT community, we love you and accept you. We mourn with you. You are our brothers and sisters.
To those who were injured at Pulse Night Club and now suffer the physical and emotional impact of this horrible violation, we mourn with you. We sit here with you in the wrongness of it all and tell you that you are loved and accepted.
To the Loved Ones of those whose lives have been taken in this tragedy, we stand with you as parents who have had to say good-bye to a son. We wrap our love around you and our hearts ache deeply. We know that words are empty, but we are committed as a family to loving well and to sharing the message of love, healing, and acceptance.
To us All, may we all set our hearts and our hands to the work that is required for us to love better, to cultivate peace and healing, and be messengers of change in our world.
And now “Orlando”
The single “Orlando” can be purchased here, all proceeds will be donated to support the victims and their families.
Orlando, when you left the house this evening
I had a sinking feeling when I saw you drive away
Orlando, We had our words, misunderstandings
Sometimes I can be demanding and my words don’t come out right
Now I’m scared cause you won’t pick up your phone
Sirens are wailing down the street
Something inside of me tells me something’s wrong
So I ran down to where they said you’d be
I can hear your phone ringing through those walls
I’m calling you, Orlando, answer me
Orlando, there are some things I should have told you
Some other things, I should not have said
And I’m regretting them right now
Orlando, you are loved and you are accepted
I know you have felt rejected but I’m telling you right now
I’m so scared cause you won’t pick up your phone
Is this your blood here on the street
Something in there went terribly wrong
So I’m standing here in front of where they said you’d be
I can hear your phone ringing through those walls
I keep calling you Orlando answer me
Orlando, my precious son, my daughter
I’d give anything to hold you again, but you’ve gone into the light
I will do better to love your sisters and your brothers
We will honor and love each other
I am standing with them tonight
This I promise you, your death is not in vain
I know your life will make us change
Cause we can still hear you singing through those walls
We can feel you dancing through those walls.
© Copyright – John Loux / John Loux (190394644543)