i have just arrived home from a really surreal time. i had the opportunity tonight to be a part of a worship and prayer time in the wake of this tragedy in my hometown of Chardon. i live a fair bit away from Chardon and it was a long drive, the ride up was relatively uneventful, i spent the time praying for the community, for the families and for the students. when i arrived at the church building, as i walked in there was the clear heaviness surrounding you, you could feel the hurt, the pain in the air. it was hard to be there. there was some time of prayer, some songs and some sharing.
after the time at the church wrapped up, i stuck around to talk to people. to pray. to try and focus on all that i had seen through a computer screen as i spent the day watching Twitter and Facebook and CNN.com and local television websites. i then left. the church building is really very close to the high school so i decided to drive past it. it was a very, well, i am not even sure of the word, but strange, unreal, disconcerting, image to me. i drove down the dark street towards the school, there were countless TV news satellite trucks everywhere. Five and six trucks all from one station.
i drove slowly past the school, it was quiet and dark, a far cry from the chaos i had seen on the screen earlier in the day. i rounded the corner and i noticed for the first time something. i saw the many maple sap buckets hanging from the trees along the road. you see, this is what Chardon is known for, or was anyway. sure, it wasn't nationally known, it was barely known outside the Cleveland area, but those of us who grew up there, that's what we knew. we knew that this time of year, this season, its tapping season. but now, now we are known for this tragedy. and not just in the Cleveland area, national, and internationally, worldwide.
my prayer is that this tragedy is not the legacy that this small town carries. my prayer is that this tragedy is just the spark of a revival in this community. that in this chaos, in this madness, in this pain and hurt and sadness, that Christ shines. that as a result of this evil moment, hearts and minds will be open to Jesus. that it won't be maple sap buckets, it won't be a school shooting, but it will be a legacy of love, a legacy of compassion and a reflection of Jesus Christ that this town carries. i am praying for you Chardon.