I’m writing this less than twenty four hours after that depraved attack on concert goers in Las Vegas that killed almost sixty people and wounded hundreds more. I don’t have a plausible explanation for why that deranged man did what he did. I just know that I’m sickened at the meaninglessness of it all.
But I have been thinking a lot lately about all of the heartache that I see around me. Young people addicted by the demonic opioids and other drugs that take the minds and hearts of otherwise intelligent and capable people to do the bidding of the spiritually dark forces. I see the violence in parts of our communities that saps the souls of people who, like you and me, were created in the image of God. I see greedy people deceiving others out of their hard earned money.
To be honest with you, it is disheartening. I hate to see people suffering, even if it is sometimes their own doing. After all, I’ve suffered the consequences of my own actions too, so it’s kind of inconsistent of me to sit in judgement. Besides, if the son of man didn’t come to condemn the world, who am I to do so?
So I left my wife this morning while she was watching the events in Las Vegas play out. I tried to turn off the television and turn on the Beatles Channel on her new SeriusXM radio, but she would have none of it.
It’s what she did for the hour before I left that has haunted me all day long. She kept reapeating to herself, “Over fifty dead and hundreds wounded….Over fifty dead and hundreds wounded” as if she just couldn’t process it all.
Granted, she suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, but I sympathized with her…I couldn’t process it either.
But let’s go back to Saturday afternoon. We were riding to my daughter’s house listening to the Beatles Channel. I thought I had heard every song the Fab Four ever recorded. But suddenly, the song title “Mother” appeared on the radio display. It was a song that John Lennon recorded just before his death.
The song “Mother” is not technically one of his best recordings. In fact, it sounds ameuturish. But I have to tell you, before the song was half over, I was in tears.
Lennon was essentially abandoned by both parents and raised by an aunt. One would think that millions of adoring fans and millions of dollars later, John would have been at peace with his childhood by the time he was forty years old. I’m enclosing a YouTube link that includes the lyrics. Watch it. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CEnc3RQE2lg.
Without going on about Lennon and his song, let me just say that the raw emotion in his voice as he sang it was so deep and real, even all those years later, that Jan and I both wept. It was haunting. And sadly familiar.
I’ve heard Lennon’s song a thousand times before from people, old and young, who did not have his talent for songwriting nor his platform for telling their stories.
But let me just say this, abandonment cuts deep, and it lasts for a lifetime.
Not to oversimplify, but as it turns out, the shooter’s father was a psychopathic bank robber and huckster who abandoned his son for extended periods of time. And even though the shooter (I won’t speak his name) was apparently successful, earning millions of dollars, he would end up killing almost sixty people and wounding hundreds more before taking his own life. They say it’s the largest mass murder in modern U.S. history.
Sixty four years and millions of dollars later, and it’s still not enough to eradicate the pain of abandonment.
Lennon’s song ends with a wailing, repetitive, plaintive cry of pain – a plea for relief ….”Mama don’t go…Daddy come home….Mama don’t go…Daddy come home.”
I’m afraid that in a culture where almost half of all babies born in America are born to single moms, we are bound to see more angry outbursts as abandoned and unloved children grow into adulthood. These violent attacks on society have the same sense of pain that Lennon’s song has – a cry for help – a plea that cries “Someone notice me! I’m important too. Watch me as I outdo the last mass murderer. I want to matter.”
The problem is almost too big to handle. It’s hard to get the cat back in the bag once you let him out. But the people I’ve noticed making a difference are people who (1) loved their own kids and made sure they kept the family intact for their sake, and (2) those who’ve taken the trouble to invest in the lives of kids who were struggling with these identity issues.
I pray that I am making a difference too.
Father, I am heartbroken tonight as I think about the senseless loss of life in Las Vegas. I am tempted to ask you why you didn’t stop it, but then I remember that we demanded our freedom long ago. We can do as we please, and we do …to our own detriment. But tonight I am pleading for a spiritual awakening in the hearts and minds of everyone in this country. Help us to see that you designed us to live in family and that family is permanent. Show us how to correct our course and avoid the inevitable consequences of our rejection of your will – of you. God, you know better than we, that there are millions of young children tonight who are crying out, Mama, don’t go…Daddy, come home.” Use us to fill the void of abandonment. Use us to introduce the broken-hearted to the Father who is always home – who never goes. Thank you for my wife who faithfully raised my children to honor you.