When news broke yesterday afternoon that shots had been fired at an Atlanta area elementary school, families immediately braced for the worst. Thankfully that’s not how it turned out. No one was shot. No one was hurt. And the young man who fired multiple rounds at police officers is now in custody. The schools bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, is being called a hero for talking the young man into surrendiring himself. She shared some of her own hard times, she told him she loved him, and she prayed for him. As they talked he told her he had no reason to live because nobody had ever loved him.
What he did was absolutely wrong and horrible and scary but in that one simple statement my heart hurt for him. His mom passed away when he was young and somehow he slipped between the cracks. If you’re like me you hear stories like this and think “didn’t anyone around him notice he needed a friend?” "Didn’t anyone try to get him help before it got this serious?!" But then something interrupts my thoughts…who is in my own neighborhood, my own reach, that I could extend an arm to but don’t take the time to notice? Who is someone around me that just needs someone to believe in them? Makes me want to look a little more closely at the people God puts in my path everyday. You never know when your time, your encouraging words, your listening ears could be just the reminder someone needs. The reminder they are wanted, they are worthy, and they are loved.