I don’t usually watch the local evening news — too many shootings and wrecks in Atlanta — but I was flipping through the other night when a story of a shooting caught my eye. An eleven-year-old girl in Northeast Georgia was shot and killed by her father, who shot his girlfriend, then turned the gun on himself and shot and killed himself.
In our fast-paced world, this unbelievable tragedy was reported in a two-minute clip. The video included an aerial view of the house in an affluent neighborhood surrounded by a manicured lawn and a border of trees.
By the front door was an elaborate Halloween display, with large blow-up Jack-o’-lanterns and ghosts. Stick scarecrows danced merrily by the walk and a string of ghosts dangled from the front porch. Some sort of spooky sign adorned the front door.
These decorations are what grabbed my attention and broke my heart further.
Someone took the time to buy the decorations or pull them out of the garage, pump them up with air, and arrange them prominently in the front yard. Perhaps the girl was involved and helped place the scarecrows in the ground, thinking about the fun to come with Halloween around the corner.
Someone wanted to put up a façade that a happy family lived in this house.
And it was a lie.
So far no one knows what pushed this man over the brink on a beautiful fall evening to start shooting those he supposedly loved, but one thing is sure, it did not happen overnight. This type of violence and abuse smolders. No telling what has gone on behind the windows of this attractive home and what the killer’s daughter and girlfriend have endured.
Yet how often do we all do a form of this? We put up the decorations on the outside, we snap a picture for Facebook or Instagram, we dry our tears and ‘make-up’ our faces, while too often hiding pain and turmoil that we have no clue how to deal with.
Although I do not know any of the details of this tragedy, I wonder if the woman involved had reached out to let others know what was truly happening behind the colorful decorations. If so, could this carnage have been averted? Please don’t hear me as putting blame on her. She was a victim also. But what can we learn from this senseless loss of a young life and the life-long grief that will be the result?
Jesus told us that he came to bring light, but people would love the darkness. He knew what kind of horrible things people are capable of. Through him we can expose the evil, but not if we keep it hidden.
If this strikes a chord with you today, I encourage you to share your struggles with a trusted friend. I’m not an advocate of baring our dirty laundry in public, but we all need those people in our lives that we can trust to keep our confidences. We need people who will nod and say okay when we share our deepest, darkest truths with them. A professional counselor may be the best place to turn.
Let God come into your hidden secrets through sharing them with others and you will be surprised at how the darkness will recede.
2 thoughts on “Behind Closed Doors”
In my experience, people do reach out, but for whatever reasons, we distance ourselves or we do hear them and are ill-equipped to help.
I met a homeless man yesterday. I tried to see him. Acknowledge him. Listen a little. A friend with me gave him her leftovers. His drunkard stare and words, “I’ve had a rough life” pierced my heart. I still see his blue eyes, and my heart hurts that I didn’t know what to do for him beyond pray.
Thank you Beth. Yes, there may have been many people trying to keep this tragedy from happening. All we can do at times is pray. Millicent Flakehttp://www.maflake.com 706-260-8665