How You Live

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?

My heart is heavy as I think about the senseless violence that claimed the lives of eight people just miles away this past weekend.  The news about this tragedy has been so widespread that even Franklin Graham and most national news agencies have reported on it.  It’s touched people nationwide but happened in our backyard.  How do you come to terms with that?

I did not know any of the victims personally but have come in contact with at least one of them through the years.

Deputy William Durr – I didn’t know him but sure wish I had.  From all I have read and seen about him, he loved God and he loved people.  Before going into law enforcement, he’d been a minister.  He loved working with children and often visited schools and churches to give talks and entertain with his puppets.

Barbara Mitchell, Tacarra May, and Brenda May were the mother, sister, and aunt of the accused gunman.  They gave their lives protecting their daughter/sister/niece (and her children) from her estranged husband.

Jordan Blackwell had his whole life in front of him.  A star player on the Ole Brook football team, he’d just been offered a scholarship to Jackson State University.  Jordan displayed the greatest act of love and heroism as he shielded a younger cousin from gunfire with his own body costing him his life in exchange.  He and eleven year old, Austin Edwards, were killed at the second crime scene after their assailant busted into the home where they were watching movies and demanded car keys.

Sheila Burage and her husband Ferral were killed in the third and final shooting on East Lincoln Road in Brookhaven.  Ferral gave his life trying to protect his wife.  Sheila worked in the Walmart Vision Center in Brookhaven.  From visits to the store, I remember her always being courteous, consistent, and cheerful.  She always wore a smile.

The common thread that weaves all of these people together is that they loved.  They all invested in other people.  Their lives made a difference.

In the days and weeks to come, please remember the families of all those affected by this tragedy in prayer.  I hope you also will be inspired as you think of these people to consider your own day to day actions.  Are you investing in people?  Am I?  I hope so.  When all is said it done, it is all that will have mattered.

Have a blessed week, y’all.

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