Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A survivor's story

I haven't written about the CO theater shooting, until now, because I didn't know what I could say.  It was horrible.  Worse than horrible.  Young people, killed by a young person.  It makes no sense.  I prayed for the survivors.  I prayed for the families of the victims.  I prayed for the injured.  I prayed for the family of the shooter.  It's senseless tragedies like this that cause people to question the presence of God in this world.  I thought back to 9/11 and the questions about God and where was he and how could he let this happen and more.  I believe God was in the World Trade Center on 9/11.  I believe he was in the planes on 9/11.  I believe God was in that movie theater in Aurora, CO in the early moments of Friday morning.  I came across a blog by a woman who was in that theater the night of the shootings.  I realize there is always a chance that something on the internet is not true, but something about this post rang true to me and I hope I could react as bravely and hang on to my faith as securely as Marie at A Miniature Clay Pot.

Marie posts about what it was like to be in the theater at that midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in her post on July 20th and survive.

"I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings.  But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did.

So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.  In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, people were screaming and pushing, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there."

Marie goes on to share how she and her daughters began to process this event.  I, personally, cannot imagine how the conversations would sound.  Marie took the time to share some of the processing she and her family experienced.  From what I can tell, this blog blew up after Marie's first posting.  It appears she added some answers to comments afterward.  I can only hope (and still do not want this hope tested) that I would be able to respond with the same grace and faith that Marie has shown.

"(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

So, you still believe in a merciful God?”  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.


Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.
In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.
Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil."

Evidently Marie's post blew up with comments that she felt compelled to address in her posts on July 21st and July 22nd.  I was surprised by the negativity she encountered, but then again, this is the internet and there is that shield of anonymity.

As hard it is to imagine being in the position Marie claims to have experienced and survived, is to understand how quickly life can change.  It is so strange to read the blog post Marie wrote on July 19th.  She wrote about bacon.  Bacon.  The most pressing thing on her mind on Thursday July 19th was her daughter's food preferences.  The paradigm from which Marie viewed her life shifted drastically a few hours later.  Yet, the faith she has in God stayed firm.

I emailed Marie and asked permission to share her story and link to her post.  In all that has been written and spoken of this tragedy, it is writing like this that gives me hope for our world.  I know there will be more to come.  A trial and sentencing.  There will, most likely, be victimization of shooter.  It's hard for the world to believe or understand that God was in that theater, but he was.  God is everywhere.  And he is there before you get there.

448.  Reading about people with unshakable faith in God
449.  A good God in a world full of evil
450.  Bloggers using their blogs to teach the good news of Jesus Christ and his salvation of the world
451.  Surprise gift of flowers


  1. whew...intense....i duno people are using this as a sounding board to make all kinds of stands and i think that is bs...i have yet to respond as well...i have thoughts...maybe tomorrow...

  2. more proof we  need to always be ready.

  3. Good post.  I agree with you.  God is there, even in the very hard, horrible times.  I believe he has taken the victims home to his rest and there will be justice for the shooter. 

  4. Regardless of belief.  A terrible tragedy.

  5. Yes - your life can change in a heartbeat.  I hope she finds peace - it's hard to imagine what going through that must feel like.


Comments from my readers bring sunshine to my day. They make me so happy.