Friday, July 20, 2012, America woke to the horrific news that a crazed gunmen had opened fire in a crowded Colorado theater, killing 12 and wounding nearly 60 others. In the wake of the tragedy, AP reports that many who genuinely and uniquely understand the trauma are reaching out to comfort the bereaved.
AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Anne Marie Hochhalter, wearing a silver cross around her neck, sat in the front row of a vigil for the victims of the Colorado theater massacre. Her connections to those wounded in the attack early Friday at an Aurora movie theater was closer than most. Paralyzed in the 1999 Columbine massacre, the 30-year-old Hochhalter said she can offer a little hope to the victims' loved ones and the survivors.
"I would tell them that with time, it does get better. But it never goes away," she said. …
Other Columbine students who survived what in 1999 was the worst school massacre in U.S. history are reliving their own experiences. And they're banding together to try to help. On Facebook and by phone, they are reaching out to people who witnessed the attack.
Hochhalter and others who survived similar attacks are playing a key role in the healing process for the Aurora shooting survivors … they are reaching out, not just in sympathy, but in genuine empathy. When they say, “I feel your pain; I understand your loss” the victims of the Colorado tragedy know that they really do. Such comfort carries even greater weight.
Let’s purpose as believers to never waste our sorrows. Rather, we must allow God to use our tribulations to weave into us a greater capacity for compassion. Then we will be equipped to comfort, console, and “offer a little hope” to those who are hurting by administering to them the healing balm of God's love.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT).