Tickle and Kiss and Tell Them You Love Them


I don’t normally post twice much less three times a day. But I simply needed to get this out. Simply to relieve my spirit of thoughts, to get them on digital paper, to allow the flood of anger, sorrow, and hurt out of the path of destruction. I was all prepared to spend the night with my wife enjoying the day, with a supper out and a movie till I read about the Newtown, CT, tragedy. This needed to be removed from my spirit so that I could have a somewhat cerebral moment with my wife.

After having a trying meeting with a client doing my best to change his perspective of why he’s getting picked on by his supervisors at work, I sat down at my favorite pizza parlor to enjoy the best Turkey Club sandwich I have ever had the privilege to entertain my taste buds (I know, a turkey club at a pizza parlor?). As I opened my laptop to check the latest news I was stricken with sorrow to see that 18 kids had been murdered in cold blood along with their adult constituents and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. The flood of emotions ran through them so harsh I almost vomited my wonderful sandwich that had done nothing to me but take the brunt of the wave of emotions over my body.

I immediately began to cry weep. Here I was in a hole-in-the-wall diner in a small hick-town (in which I truly love being there) with country boys all around me having their manly meal before chasing the cows or paving the roads and I in my corner of the world weeping over what I am imagining is Hell to hundreds if not thousands of people in the town of Newtown.

I immediately began to pray as I attempted to hide my face behind the computer screen. Not just because. But real honest prayer. I prayed for the families of those who had been killed. I can’t imagine that they sent their kids to school on a Friday preparing to enjoy the weekend and now they will be burying their family member a week out from Christmas.

Parents of those that are still alive now have to deal with possible PTSD and their family member not sleeping at night. The family of the shooter now has to deal with issues of backlash and their own hurt of a family member doing something so atrocious. The medics and first responders having the horror of tending to the bodies and although they have been trained for such trauma, there really is no training that can prepare you for such. I know, I was a volunteer firefighter and have friends that are EMTs.

The faculty having to deal with hurting kids and parents, the failing trust of those not willing to let their kids come back to school and how to mentally lead their classes again. A town ripped apart like Columbine and Aurora. It’s even been so close that in 1995 a school shooting happend just twenty miles from my home.

The knowledge of not being able to punish this guy for his deeds. Even being a pastor I have those feelings of wishing he hadn’t killed himself so that punishment could have been dealt with. Sadly, he may be in the midst of his punishment now, not that I want to judge but I honestly can’t see his acts being godly.

So here I sit a million miles from Connecticut yet as if it happened in my back yard. Everyday (I am NOT exaggerating) I hug my son and tell him how awesome he is and give thanks for such a great treasure and gift. I pray God’s protection over him and not to let any harm come to him. I’m not ready to mature in such a way that some hurt comes upon him. It would destroy my life. When I wake up, I tickle him and kiss him and tell him I love him. When I pick him up from daycare, I tickle him and kiss him and tell him I love him. When he goes to bed, I try to tickle him and kiss him and tell him I love him (but he usually doesn’t let me).

There’s not a day that goes by I don’t let him and God both know how much he means to me. So in the wake of such tragedy, I can only encourage you that if tomorrow was the last time you saw your loved one, make sure today you tickle them and kiss them and tell them you love them.

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About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

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