“I love you guys so much.” The second I saw the text from my sister, my heart dropped. My heart was beating out of my chest, and the anxiety of knowing what seeing those six words might mean made me want to puke.
It was 8:44 on Thursday morning, Nov. 14. I went on Twitter where my biggest fear was confirmed.
“Active shooter on Saugus High campus,” the tweet said.
My sister was in class when two students rushed in shouting about gunfire on Saugus High campus. I was on my way to the BYU-Idaho campus almost 1,000 miles away. I sat in my car in shock as the news reports rolled in.
That entire day and the ones after were filled with anxiety and fear, but also gratitude and so much love for my family and my community.
We at Scroll believe that we have a duty to look for opportunities to uplift and serve those affected in a time of tragedy.
I’ve watched my community come together in a way I never would have thought possible. Local restaurants ran fundraisers and raised tens of thousands of dollars for those affected. Our favorite pizza shop ran out of pizza during its fundraiser.
A cheering section made up of students from every school in our district chanted “Saugus strong,” at the playoff football game. They ran Saugus High School flags up and down the field every time the team from across our district scored.
Over 10,000 people came together on Sunday night for a vigil to support everyone involved.
Hundreds of “Saugus Strong” t-shirts were sold, with all proceeds benefiting the students and school.
Love has been pouring in from across the nation to help rebuild what was broken.
Last week wasn’t the first time I’ve watched my community rally around those affected by tragedy.
Katie Evans, a mother of six children, was driving home from UCLA’s NICU where she visited her prematurely born twins when she was hit and killed by a drunk driver. She and her family were members of my local congregation.
Community members arranged for meals and babysitting. People donated to help the family with funeral costs and anything else they might need.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel told a story about coming out of surgery. His grandson saw him in pain and said, “Grandpa, I know you suffered a lot, and you have great pain. But you know how much I love you, tell me, if I loved you more, would you suffer less?”
While loving those around us can’t take away their physical or emotional pain, it is our duty to show them love and support as Christ commanded us to in Mark 12:31.
If we all supported each other with the enthusiasm and love that I’ve seen my city apply, the world would be a brighter place.
My sister made it home safely on Thursday, but three kids died and three were injured. Those without physical injuries are still struggling with emotional ones. However, they don’t have to do that alone.
I’m so grateful to be part of a community that uplifts those in need.
We never know when something horrible will happen, but we can know that we’ll be there to support those around us and hope that they would do the same for us.