I wake up every morning with my friends Savannah and Matt. They do not know they are my friends. This is because they live in New York, far away from Knoxville, and they are very busy hosting the Today Show. It’s their loss, really. But their bright clothes and friendly banter remind me of being a kid in an old blue farmhouse, smelling coffee and watching Matt and Katie in pajamas with my mama. Now my pajamas are various t-shirts and there’s never coffee in the morning because I’m a grown-up and I have to brew my own coffee. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: adulting is hard.
But every morning on the Today Show, Matt and Savannah and gang take the ugliness of the world and bookend it with game day recipes and fall fashion ideas. They quip and kid and the world may be ugly but together we find cute babies on YouTube and find reasons to be happy.
Today started the same as every day. On the second (or seventh, whatever) alarm of the morning, I groggily fumbled for the remote to turn on the Today Show. My eyes were still closed; my brain was still mush. Savannah told me they’d keep my updated.
I didn’t know why.
Eyes shot open and brain snapped into place with the next line: “Deadliest mass shooting in American history.”
Much like the rest of you, I’m sure, I spent the next hour with my eyes glued to the television screen, listening for new information, heart shattering over and over again as stories were shared and death counts rose.
As people were interviewed and videos released, I went to Twitter to express my heartbreak and hear from others. Devastating. Through the internet, we cried together. We voiced outrage. We begged Jesus to come quickly. We hurt for Las Vegas.
My heart was so heavy as I got ready for the day.
A big old brick church sits across the street from my apartment.
Her church bells ring every morning.
I could still faintly hear the news from the other room as I brushed my teeth and the bells started their daily clanging.
No words. Just melody. Straight-forward and simple, one note at a time from the steeple across the street.
Great is Thy Faithfulness.
My mind filled in the lyrics:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside
Heart break from the news and hope from the church bells, vying for my attention – vying for prominence in my attitude, life, response.
My heart is still broken for Las Vegas. My brain is still sickened and angered by that fact that people can delve into such mindless evil. My soul still longs for a perfect earth when my sweet Jesus comes back.
God is still faithful. He is still good. He doesn’t change. He doesn’t fail.
“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”
Strength for today. One day at a time, we will pray for peace, we will work for change, we will love harder and bigger and bolder. We will recognize the heartbreak while looking towards that bright, bright, bright hope for tomorrow, sweet friends. Brightest freaking hope for tomorrow.