The Forgotten Children Killed in the Orlando Shooting

dark child face

49 children were murdered in a night club in Orlando this week.

49 sons and daughters, carried in the swollen bellies of mothers who waited breathlessly for them to arrive.

49 nurseries prepared with brightly colored walls and soft, and furry animals just waiting to welcome them home.

49 smooth, helpless, perfect bundles, cradled in the crook of the arms of proud, nervous parents and loving siblings and beaming grandparents.

49 middle of the night cries, rushed to by sleepless caregivers whose very voices quieted the fear.

49 sweet-smelling heads with swirls of fuzzy hair spirals.

49 pairs of doughy hands, pulling themselves up onto end tables, and one moment pushing away and reaching toward outstretched arms.

49 pairs of wobbly legs begin to find their strength.

49 first words, greeted with wild exuberance by tearful, applauding witnesses.

49 first days of school, with new lunch boxes and butterflied tummies and dreams of what will be.

49 gloriously off-key first grade recitals.

49 paper mache volcanos.

49 early morning snuggles. 

49 toothless, jack-o-lantern smiles.

49 wide-eyed mortals realizing they are superheroes.

49 fearless boys and girls bounding and skipping and jumping through the woods and on top of beds and off of staircases. 

49 scraped knees and stitched chins and broken arms and 2AM emergency room visits.

49 first loves and pimpled cheeks and awkward moments and fender benders.

49 middle school meltdowns.

49 high school crises.

49 children finding their gifts and passions and calling, all pushing them toward purpose.

49 young men and women, navigating the worries, joys, and wounds of finding their own place in the world.

49 souls just beginning to find their voices.

49 people loving and being loved.

49 laughing, dancing, embracing bodies—silenced in a second.

49 hearts, ceasing to beat.

49 family members waiting in helpless, prayerful, panic.

49 cell phones ringing incessantly, never to be answered again.

49 children were murdered in a night club in Orlando this week.

49 children’s parents are grieving.

49 children’s siblings and friends and lovers and spouses and children are planning funerals.

49 children’s stories were horribly interrupted.

Not statistics, not people groups, not causes or culture war symbols, not illustrations or examples or stereotypes or case studies.

Children.

Someone’s children.

As treasured as your own.

As treasured as you are to another.

Flesh, blood, and bone.

Souls and dreams and crooked smiles.  

Children whose deaths should shake and infuriate and grieve us fully.

Children whose loss is as senseless and tragic as any we an experience.

If we can’t see this or we choose to overlook it or succeed in forgetting it, it will be our fault when more children die.

49 LGBTQ children were murdered in a nightclub in Orlando this week.

49 children were born.

49 children lived.

49 children were loved.

49 children deserve to be treasured.

49 children deserve to be remembered.

49 children deserve that we all do better.

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This piece was originally published at JohnPavlovitz.com.

 

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John Pavlovitz
John Pavlovitz is a father of two, (Noah and Selah), and husband of one (Jennifer); a 17-year ministry veteran, specializing in rabble-rousing, engineering mayhem, and generally trying to live-out the red letters of Jesus. For more, visit John’s blog.