Every day at about this time, I sit down at the computer to write my post for the following morning. In writing each post, I have one of three goals:
• to leave a digital trail, recording a portion of family history
• to honor my fathers and mothers—not just of one generation, but many
• to encourage others to tell their families’ stories.
This time, however, I’ve just returned from a concert. Not just an average concert, however—this one was way too emotionally draining to be considered a mere performance. And after something like that, I just can’t begin to write about the past.
So I’ll consider this blog, from this point forward, to have one more task: write to remember the future.
This particular concert was no ordinary event. It was small, local, and not well publicized. What made it special was the reason for which it was held: a benefit for a much-loved young person whose many talents are remarkable, yes, but whose way of life managed to touch so many others unforgettably.
Those who keep track of the tireless cascade of bad news churned out daily by the media—news junkies, my husband calls them—will recall the unfortunate event just after midnight on July 20 when the theater shooting at a movie premiere in Aurora, Colorado, took the lives of several and injured many more.
A recent graduate of the university in my city—and my alma mater—was among upwards of seventy involved in that tragedy. She took three shots in her arm and one to her head.
Amazingly, she survived.
Tonight was our local music community’s way to continue supporting her on her miraculous road to recovery. A homecoming for this survivor, she was actually able to attend the event, herself.
The survivor’s name is Petra Anderson. Google her name and you can see her story has been carried by major wire services, television networks, and featured in newspapers around the world. A team of close friends has set up a Facebook page, a blog, a Twitter account, and sought donations for medical expenses on the family’s behalf at Indiegogo and Pay It Square.
Most touchingly, her family’s pastor wrote of the incredible odds she faced from the moment of her injury, and of the double-edged challenge facing the family: at about the same time as this attack in Aurora, Petra’s mom had received news that her cancer had returned.
The grace and confidence reflected in the manner in which the family stood together through all this has been inspiring. Recalling the movie that was to debut that night, they drew from its theme as their own message since then:
In The Dark Knight, Batman tells the Joker that Gotham City is “full of people ready to believe in good.” Gotham City may be a fictional place and Batman may a fictional character, but that doesn’t mean they’re false. And when evil, in the form of man or disease, is horrific, hope will rise.We believe that the world is full of people ready to believe in good, and we believe that you are one of those people. No one can change that.
And this night, the power of that belief and hope was tangible.
While a post like today’s isn’t one reverencing the past, it’s a reminder to regain assurance of the future. There are so many talented, energized, well-purposed members of a new generation ready to believe in that good. They are ready to take hold of a calling that propels them—and all of us—to a future that refuses to give place to a lesser vision.
That may be Petra’s family heritage, for that was the message her mother embodied. It came from a previous generation “passing it along”—the lessons of strength, courage, virtue.
But it also becomes a legacy for this next can-do generation which, with God’s grace, thinks outside the box and sees love overcome hate. It’s a legacy that encourages them—those future generations—to take hold of values that make a difference and carry them forward into their future. And really, if we had no one to pass these strengths along, would we even have a future?
That’s why, for this blog, from this point forward, I want to remember one more task: I want to write to remember the future. For if we don’t remember our future, there will be no one left to remember their past.