Several days ago, our world stopped.  Forty nine lives were taken, entirely too soon.  Chaos entered our city and so many family and friends were directly affected. The Orlando community grieved together in so many ways. Thousands gathered for vigils around the city. Blood banks were at capacity. Beautiful memorial crosses were made and brought to Orlando as a space for people to offer their condolences. Radio and TV had moments of silence.  Churches created space in the Sunday morning services to acknowledge and pray for those who were affected.  

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I drove for Uber following the days after and heard  so many stories about how people were personally affected or how they knew someone who was. People sat in the pain as they listened to the radio give reports. Many were numb and felt the need to apologize for their silence and their solemn disconnect. Navigating around the crime scene, I could feel the weight of our city.  

Several days later, I drove through Orange Avenue as the street reopened.  The news vans packed up their equipment.  The sidewalks were swept and barricades were removed. On to the next news event.  No more detours for those who travel that route on a daily basis.  

But for the families and the loved ones, for the LGBTQ community, the first responders, hospital staff, and for Orlando, the healing continues. How soon the majority will return to their lives as they knew it before this horrible tragedy occurred. For others, the journey of healing hasn’t even began.

“Comfort, Comfort my people, says your God,” Isaiah 40:1.

I began to feel convicted that perhaps I hadn’t yet done enough to help.  A stronger conviction came upon me as I realized that although I had a conversation with my daughters about what happened, I wanted them to learn when people are hurting, step up and do something. I was thankful to attend an event with my daughters.  We created cards and notes of encouragement for  organizations who are still offering support to those affected by the tragedy. We offered thanks to the first responders and wrote prayers for those whose lives would not return to life as they once knew it.

I hope that we as community will continue to pray for those who are grieving.  Don’t forget the names and the lives lost so soon.  Carry the weight a little longer, and when you feel convicted to do something, do it.  

“Finally, all of you, be like minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble,” I Peter 3:8.

Tamara Cushman

About Tamara Cushman

Tamara Cushman was born and raised in Southern California. She's lived in Florida and attended Discovery for almost 12 years with her husband Paul and three daughters Elaina, Leslie and Destiny. In years past, Tamara served on staff with the children’s ministry at both Discovery East and Central campuses. She is passionate about children, parenting and families growing together. She finds pleasure supporting parents, especially first-time parents. One of her greatest joys is spending quiet time with God at the beach or just in a quiet space.

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