Lueders, Beth J. Lifting Our Eyes: Finding God's Grace Through The Virginia Tech Tragedy. New York: the Berkley Publishing Group, 2007.
This book provided a quick Saturday afternoon read for me while I was avoiding grading a stack of papers. It intrigues me that Christians are so quick to publish memoirs after incidents like this; however, I can understand taking advantage of an opportunity to be a testimony to the rest of the world. We do handle suffering differently.
I will leave the story itself for you to explore. What I was most intrigued by in this book were the appendices. My students probably look at appendices with relief - to them, an appendix is a part of a book that they do not need to feel guilty for not reading. Often I also skip the appendices; however, this book had some interesting articles on dealing with suffering and grieving. What appears below is a segment of a chart provided in the book as an example of ways to change one's thinking. I have found many of the statements to be helpful as I've dealt with my own difficulties recently:
"I feel so scared/I don't feel safe..."
But the truth is it is normal right now for me to feel unsettled. I have been through so much. Grief and anxiety have gotten all tangled up and I feel like a mess. I feel the Lord is giving me permission to cry and to rest. But, God, [Y]ou are enough for this nightmare. You are my safety. You are my comfort. I choose right now to trust [Y]ou and I will choose not to camp my thoughts on the memories of what happened. it is okay for me to move my thoughts to a more whole place to heal my heart now. I thank [Y]ou for [Y]our promise in Matthew 11:28-30 that I am yoked together with you.
"I am thinking about the bad memory again ..."
Lord, what is it that you want to tell me and show me? I invite you into my memory now. What are you saying to me? If there is something from the bad memory that I am to learn, let me know that now. If not - I am going to choose to change channels. I am going to focus on you today as many times as I remember. Lord, I thank you for healing me more each day and strengthening me. Thank you for the feeling of compassion that has arisen from this. May I see the other strengths you have given me during this dark season of my life.
"I feel overwhelmed and depressed ..."
But the truth is, what I have been going through is overwhelming. My emotions are exhausted and depleted. That's why I feel depressed. But the truth is, I don't have to stay in this condition. I can take every detail to you, Lord, and ask for clarity and then ask for grace over it. If I resist your grace, I could even become bitter. You want me well. I am asking for your grace.
"I just want to escape from all this forever ..."
But the truth is, it is natural and normal to want to escape this forever. But, Lord, you have fully equipped your children for battle. You have said that in this world we will have tribulation and hardship. It feels almost too hard, but I choose right now to go deeper in you; for as I abide in you, I shall be given all I need to recover from this.