Sunday, June 8, 2014

Keep calm and... Then what?

Keep Calm and Carry On

A saying that seems so easy to do
But in this moment not one I can comprehend 
Carry on doesnt seem like something I can do right now

Maybe, keep calm and...
 ...just pray
...just stop thinking about it
... just hope it goes away 
 ... and just see a counselor
... just act like it didnt happen
Tried them all 

So many thoughts on how to process this incident, one you never imagine 
 The best thing I can think of doing is keep calm and just write about it 


Seattle Pacific University 
June 5th, 2014 

I just got back from walking through the lobby like I do everyday
My coworker mentioned we were in lockdown
So, someone was robbed at 7-11, or a robbing at a local bank, or just a drill
Then one of co workers mentioned they heard gunshots 
I started to hear sirens outside- A lot of them
First police cars
Then fire fighters and trucks
Ambulances and medics
Ok, this is serious
I look out our window to check the scene 

What is happening right now? 

I glance down at the Otter Miller building and I see the body of a young man across the street below
He looked like he was moving- oh good, he is ok
Then I saw the puddle of blood

What is happening right now?

Fear that I have never experience entered my heart
Where did the shooter go?
Was there another one?
Who is that student?
So many questions ran through my head

What is happening right now?

After that scene, chaos broke out and our department had a front row to what was unraveling
The coaches coming in and letting us know if there athletes were safe
Local and national news started calling asking for interviews
We cancelled out athletic banquet- calls about that information were coming in 
Our gym became safe haven were witnesses would come and give their statement
Text messages, phone calls and facebook posts checking to see if I was ok
I said I was ok but I really should have said I was safe but not OK

What is happening right now?
This doesnt happen to SPU

So many emotions going on I cant seem to make sense of reality right now
Part of me doesn't want to believe it
Then the image of the victim or the fear that came over me sets in
And I start to get angry...then anxious...then tears
Then finally some peace and I feel like it is a distant memory 

Ten minutes later the cycle starts all over again
Anger...anxiety... tears...calmness

Ten minutes later my mind starts to play the "What If" game
What is the shooter decided to turn left towards the gym?
What is the shooter was not taken down and made it into a classroom?
What if?!

Ten minutes later the cycle starts all over again
Anger...anxiety... tears... calmness

Fear- Going back to work and seeing the building an thinking how easy it could happen again- Everywhere I go I walk around on alert

Sadness- For the victim , Paul Lee, not knowing what he was walking out too- that Paul will never experience a full life- for Paul's family and friends- for Seattle and our SPU community- for our graduates who now have this event forever linked to their time of joy

Anger- Why would this happen at SPU? Why did the shooter chose SPU?
Why isn't everyone grieving the way I am? How can people act like nothing happened SPU?

Confusion-  Why would this happen a week before I leave SPU? Will my emotions and memories forever be tied to this shooting? Why the week before graduation? Will I ever be able to laugh without feeling guilty? 

Is it OK to feel ALL this?
 Is this normal in one day?

I am on an emotional roller coaster no one should ever be on 

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe, we believe!
Why do horrible things happen? 
We live in a fallen, broken world and SPU has seen the worst of it
However, there is one thing that has overcome evil
 Jesus Christ

The Seattle Pacific community is bonding together more now than ever before
We know where our anchor lies- Jesus Christ 
We know who we are leaning on during this time- Jesus Christ 

Why SPU?
I don't know but I do know that this event will not define us or break us
We will rise from this stronger than ever before
We know that are being light in this dark world right now

Paul Lee was a resident on 5th Ashton- a residence hall on the SPU campus
#weareSPU #wearefamily

In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only one foundation
We believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only one salvation
We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He's comin' back again

So, here I am back to reality not knowing how to process this event
Trying to process that this is my last week at SPU
Trying to process I am leaving a secure job
Trying to process I leave for Africa in less than two weeks 
Trying to process my life has forever been rocked 

I do believe that ALL things work together for the good
I know He is working on my journey- all the good and the bad
He is giving me strength to keep moving forward and helping me process
He is giving me peace and comfort when my heart is anxious
He is helping me to eventually take this tragic event and make it a sad memory 

Keep calm and carry on?
I am trying
I know it will take time
There are times I want to talk about it and times I cant say a word

I have sought out help on how to process these emotions
Everyday I am being able to get back into my routine one step at a time
I feel I am getting stronger everyday

Keep Calm and Know He is Restoring 


  1. Praying, Jess! I can't imagine the gamut of emotions you must be feeling. Keep leaning into Him to bring you comfort and peace. Praising God that He has already overcome the world!

  2. I understand. I have been feeling so many of these similar emotions in such a similar pattern. It is so big in our lives and its hard to understand how it is not as life-changing to others. Time will help, talking will help, praying will help...I love you Jess and know that I am here for you, anytime!


I would love to hear how you are enjoying your journey!