If You’re Reading This, It’s Not Too Late

 

orlando its not too late

Dear Orlando,

If you’re reading this, it’s not too late.

It’s officially been three days since the tragic massacre at Pulse night club in Orlando, FL — what has formally become known as the “Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History.”
(If you’ve been living under a rock and somehow missed out on the breaking news, read about it HERE! )


Because Let’s Be Frank was birthed as a response to the tragic loss of our own father Frank as a means to channel our pain into a platform for a community of mourners to find HOPE — AND because Orlando is our HOME town, — we’ve deemed it not only necessary, but also as our DUTY, to provide some sort of response to this most unfortunate and horrific life-changing event.


Saturday morning many people all over OUR CITY (and America) woke up to heartbreaking news related to the beloved Christina Grimmie, who was shot and killed during a post-concert meet-and-greet in downtown Orlando (Read HERE). As if that wasn’t tragic enough, the very next morning our city was hit with the even heavier news of the aforementioned Pulse massacre, sweeping Grimmie’s loss under the rug.

It’s now been three whole days.

THREE WHOLE DAYS have passed, and yet it seems like both a blur and an eternity to a lot of people.

Perhaps there’s no better way to characterize our current condition than by claiming we have:
hearts full of lies,
lungs full of sighs,
tears full in our eyes,
… but we’re somehow empty.

There’s this brokenness lingering around in the air. There’s this gap, this VOID, haunting the streets of Orlando in response to the nearly 50 lives that were undeservingly and prematurely taken. It’s like we’re all thinking the very same thing, but everyone seems to be afraid to say it: to say that we’re empty, that we’re at a loss for words, and that we want answers.

We’re all AFRAID:

  • afraid of more terrorism
  • afraid of the enemy
  • afraid of losing someone we love
  • afraid of not seeing tomorrow

BUT ORLANDO, YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT WHEN YOU’RE LIVING IN THE WORLD, THE LIST OF FEAR GOES ON AND ON AND ON, AND IT BECOMES JUST AS ENDLESS AS IT IS POINTLESS. ON THE CONTRARY, LIVING IN FEAR IS NOT ACTUALLY LIVING AT ALL.

TO BE FRANK: I have more breaking news for you, news that will literally break every statistic and mold the world has ever told you.

Unlike the recent headlines, this is GOOD NEWS.
Unlike the recent headlines, this news never gets old.
Unlike the recent headlines, this news never gets swept under the rug.

This news is always relevant, always active, always true.

This “breaking news” promises us that there is FREEDOM in Jesus, so we do not have to fear, based off of Isaiah 41:10 which states, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

These words alone hold enough power to comfort us for a lifetime, if we believe that God is truly with us. (The keyword is IF.)

To add to that, let us find COMFORT in Romans 8:31, which states, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

In other words, because God is with us and on our side, no attack or massacre could ever displace us from His protection. Tragedy may strike, and battles may be lost, but God will always win the war, and in times like these, we need to hold on to that promise MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, Orlando.

And as you hold on to that promise, I want you to read the following statement carefully.

Although the gunman stole lives from our city, somehow this tragedy brought LIFE back to the city.

This statement is not intended to condone, affirm, or encourage the tragedy or the lifestyles of those afflicted by the tragedy, but rather to provide a dose of optimism in the midst of pain.

All I’m saying, is that perhaps BEFORE this tragedy, we were living semi-robotic lifeless routines, repeating our day-in and day-out motions, carrying on with our own selfish agendas, desensitizing ourselves to humanity …. but AFTER this tragedy, our city came together and became #OrlandoStrong.

This gunman stole 50 precious lives from us, and injured 50 more. Let us refuse to let him steal our joy and unity. Let us refuse to let him steal our strength.

As social media was visually flooded with support marked by “#PrayForOrlando” from the world, the streets of Orlando were visually flooded with people coming to help.

Orlando, we came together.

  • We united, as citizens lined up at every blood-donation center in the city to collect enough blood to save the victims.
  • We united, as our hospital staff and police officers worked around the clock to save what was left of this mess.
  • We united, as Orlando natives rallied up water bottles to deliver to blood donors who needed hydration as they waited patiently in the Florida heat.
  • We united, as churches hosted times of prayer; hotlines provided grief counseling services; and as our state and city politicians issued moments of silence and vigils of remembrance.

The truth is, we had it in us the WHOLE TIME, but unfortunately it took a tragedy to unleash that level of strength and unity. Truthfully, we cannot form words that embody the sentiments as well as these anonymously formulated words that have been circulated all over social media:

IMG_2123

You may have come here looking for answers, as a rush of questions travel through your mind…

How can life just keep “GOING ON”?

Why would someone do such an evil thing?

How could ONE person kill and injure SO MANY?

Am I the only one who’s afraid to leave my home?

What will happen to all the families who lost someone close to them?

Maybe you’re one of those family members suffering from the loss of a loved one; maybe you’re not. Maybe you live in Orlando; maybe somewhere else in America is your home. Maybe you’re wondering why bad things happen to good people . . .

The reality is that there are so many “MAYBES” and I don’t know which one you best identify with, but regardless of how you landed on this page, I want you to know something very important:

If you’re reading this, it’s NOT too late.

It’s not too late to say you’re sorry. It’s not too late to forgive a friend. It’s not too late to hold your family members a little tighter tonight. It’s not too late to turn your life around.

It’s not too late to receive God’s love. It’s not too late to spread God’s love. It’s not too late to let God’s love transform the way you view and live your life.

I get it. It’s weird….waking up to the news informing you that your city was just struck by “the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.” You may not be able to change history, but together we can change the future and true change starts with the individual, then overflows to the community. So today, make a very conscious decision to change yourself.

The very fact that you are STILL HERE, still breathing, still living is proof enough that there’s a plan for your life. Just because you were attacked, doesn’t mean life stops.

On that note, let’s turn to President Obama’s striking words, which state, “This is a sobering reminder that an attack on ANY AMERICAN — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation — is an attack on ALL of us.”

So, DO take it personally and DON’T take it lightly!

Stop and pray.

  • Pray for the loved ones of the lives lost.
  • Pray for wisdom for the police investigations.
  • Pray for sensitivity in the media coverage.
  • Pray for quick recovery for those who were injured.
  • Pray for yourself… pray for your loved ones…pray for this city.

Just PRAY. Pray hard, and pray loud, and pray without cease, because while the world says we are in CRISIS, we can have peace that we are in Christ and Christ is ENOUGH!

If you’re reading this, it’s not too late.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Alexis Gauthier
Alexis Gauthier is currently 22 years old. She is a Licensed Minister in the Assemblies of God and aspires to be a Spoken Word Evangelist. She completed her undergrad in Church Ministries with a double minor in English and Journalism/Public Relations at Southeastern University, where she presently works as Graduate Assistant in the career services office while finishing grad school. Alexis gets her entrepreneurial drive, thrifty style, and committed heart from her father Frank.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s