Yesterday afternoon when I was inching along in traffic trying to get home from work, I got a call from a friend and fellow-daycare mom that there was a hostage situation on a bus about a quarter mile from my neighborhood. In the next couple hours, I heard that a woman had been murdered in the park behind our house, the gun-wielding suspect had taken the bus hostage, and — at some point in all of this — a guy with a gun was on the loose somewhere in the vicinity of the park and our neighborhood. (Here’s a photo of the suspect exiting the bus around the corner from our house.)
At the time, it wasn’t clear whether the murder in the park and the hostage situation were related, and whether there was one gunman or two. All I knew was that the cops had shut down the major road near our house, closed off our neighborhood to all vehicular and foot traffic, and nobody could get to our kids at daycare (who were in our neighborhood) or to our house. On top of it all, Niki was out of the country.
I kept my cool as much as possible, but at one point I just broke down. I knew I needed to trust God — that was all I could do. And I knew I should not be afraid — but in an instant I became overwhelmed with thoughts of a gun-wielding guy running into the daycare to hide, taking the kids hostage, and killing them. I was so afraid, and I felt profound remorse for things I had done as a parent — like my lack of patience, harsh things I have said, and not having more fun with them and doing more things with them when I’m at home. I sat in the car sobbing.
Right then, a friend in the neighborhood called me and told me things were very calm in our neighborhood and not to be afraid. She really set me at ease. And then I read Psalm 91 as a prayer:
No evil will conquer me because I have made you my shelter;