Blessings and Questions

Yesterday I had an overwhelming desire to go to church. I was so grateful for so many blessings I just had to spend time with God and simply say thanks. My heart was also heavy for the parents who at that moment were in indescribable pain after the tragedy in Santa Barbara Friday night, another school shooting, this one coming very close to home.

Cole on the set of Dark Star

Cole on the set of Dark Star

Our family has had an amazing two weeks celebrating the accomplishments of our 23-year-old son Cole who this weekend graduated from the Dodge College of Film at Chapman University. Family and friends took up an entire row at the screening of his senior thesis movie Dark Star. The movie was extremely well done. Special effects, an original soundtrack, a surprise helicopter shot, usually out of reach of the student director, all contributed to a great 20 minute film. Afterward, two of the actors who had made the drive up to Orange for the screening, (the third star has since been cast in two feature films) talked to us about Cole and what a superb experience it was to work with him. Both men are working actors living in L.A. and at least 10 years older than my son. They told us about his enthusiastic leadership on set and his talent for writing and movie making. They can’t wait to audition for another Cole movie!
Moms and our boys

Moms and our boys

One week later we returned to Orange to a private dinner with Cole’s best friends and their parents. I was amazed at the caliber of these young men. One young man started the evening off with a prayer entitled “Disturb Me Lord”. Then they took turns sitting in a chair while each friend told funny and touching stories. Without exception, each one ended with a tribute of love for the friend in the “hot” seat. I remembered the next morning that I would frequently pray that God would grace Cole with great friends during college, a few Christian friends would be nice too! God was more than faithful and in ways I would never have dreamed.
The next morning, graduation day, I woke up to a horrible alert on my phone. A mentally disturbed young man had gone a shooting spree in Isla Vista, the college town where Cole had lived for two years and our youngest son Dylan was living now. The killer shot 7 young people dead in the popular street where UCSB and Santa Barbara City College students always congregate. Two nights before the rampage our kids were on that street. Cole had driven up to help Dylan move out of his dorm. If it hadn’t have been for graduation, Dylan might still have been hanging around that street the night of the shootings. It turns out that one of his roommates was still there and witnessed the carnage. He held the hand of a girl who had been shot in the stomach. The girl was on the phone with her mother telling her she and thought she was dying and she loved her very much. As I type these words I choke with tears again and I can’t shake off the one word that has haunted me since I read the news on my phone. Why? Why, Lord do these things happen? Why those children and not mine? Why? Why?
I took my question to church where we are celebrating the Easter season and the impending coming of the Holy Spirit. We read how Jesus promised the deciplies he would not leave us orphans. He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us on this earth.
My biggest take away was the story the priest told about the president of Notre Dame who was asked what his favorite prayer was. He said it was just three words. Veni, Sancte Spiritus. Whenever he had a question or was troubled he would say three words. Come Holy Spirit.
Its simple. It’s perfect really. It’s what I needed and frankly what the world needs. Come Holy spirit. Maybe the answer is that simple.


  1. Grant Woods says

    Well said.

  2. Your words touch my heart. Your words provide some comfort in the aftermath of yet another horrific tragedy. I blogged about the Tucson shooting and Sandy Hook and how these events break our hearts and result in our innocent children wanting to know why these things happen. As parents we comfort and answer them the best we can when we as adults have no answers either. How eerie that your boys were just in that same area a few days before. I am so thankful that your young men are safe and I pray for the victims and their families.

  3. Love it!

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