There was a shooting.
These are four words no one ever wants to hear and yet, these words seem to find themselves in many of our news stories these days, words that have become so commonplace that when you don’t hear them, it almost seems strange.
August 11, 2019, Sunday afternoon
Never would I have imagined what I was about to drive into, all because I wanted to relax my mind for a bit, take the focus off blogging and catch a movie at the theater. The writing wasn’t flowing as I had hoped on this particular Sunday so instead of going to a later show, I decided to catch the 3:50pm showing of Hobbs and Shaw. (Sidebar: Why no one ever told me about the Fast and Furious movies prior to 2014 is beyond me, but then again I am late to the game about everything!)
I headed to Memorial City Mall, where my favorite movie theater is, looking forward to grabbing my signature Snack Pack of a kid’s sized popcorn, small drink and fruit snack and easing back into my cushy, reclining leather seat that I get to chose beforehand, to watch the movie. As I drive into the mall parking lot, I am a bit taken aback by the large amount of cars in the parking lot, more busy then usual, even for this mall. As I turn the corner to go around back by the theater entrance, I begin looking around and there are literally cars everywhere going in every direction. As I begin looking at people, I realize something is seriously wrong. People are frantically running toward their cars, some older people are clutching their chest with frantic and distressed looks on their faces and everyone I see is on their phones. I still proceed to head toward the back of the mall, but then I hear those 4 words you don’t ever want to hear and I am in shock.
I hear the police sirens, cops all around, surrounding the mall and blocking entrances, traffic piled up (which is not unusual for Houston) and a helicopter flying overhead. It was unreal.
What?! A shooting? A man with a gun? I roll down my window to listen in on people’s conversation because so many people are standing outside, looking around. I cannot believe what I am hearing. Just 8 days after the shooting in El Paso, TX, where 22 people were killed, the great state of Texas has made the news again for what seemed like the same thing. I text two of my friends to tell them what happened and get another shock: one of them is at the mall with her boyfriend trying to get out. The other friend was on the way to the mall to meet her friend who is also at the mall, and apparently ran out of the mall after seeing the alleged perpetrator putting on a mask!
What was even more eerie was that I had said to the one friend in church that same day, “It’s no longer about being here today and gone tomorrow. You can be here today and gone today.” Never would I have imagined that it could’ve truly become a reality, not many hours later. I just began to pray for my friends as well as everyone who was still in the mall trying to get out, praying for their safety. Thankfully, everyone made it out safely, except one mother and child who suffered minor injuries.
Referred to as the Memorial City Mall scare, the initial news report stated that it was a gentleman in the food court who had lit fireworks and that was the explosion everyone heard. Reading this report just seemed suspicious to me. The second news report, that came out a few hours later, stated that it was a young man who had jumped on the table in the food court, with a mask, threatening to kill himself. No one has yet to honestly report what actually happened.
The reality of this day hit me as I finally arrived home, still thanking Jesus that I was safe and so were my friends. The scripture that came to mind was:
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.Psalm 90:12, NLT
When we leave this earth is the one thing no one but God knows and yet, we often live presumptuously, as if we have so much time to get things right, do the things God has been calling us to do, or fully live the life He died to give us. As the cliché goes, “Tomorrow is not promised.” I would add to that, “Neither is our next breath.” Stop making excuses for why you are waiting to do the things God has called you to do. Do them now. Become His best right NOW while you are waiting, so that when, not if, He does call you home, not only will you know Him that more intimately through relationship, but you will be ready when the Bridegroom comes because, as Jesus said, you have “completed the work [He] gave [you] to do.” (John 17:4, NLT)
Then the Lord God made a womanGenesis 2:22, NLT
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (NLT)
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