Sometimes I have these moments where I just start to reflect on the past, moments in time that may have faded a little in my memory. I think about events that occurred in my lifetime that had a big impact on our nation, on our world, that made people stop the normalcy of their lives for a moment and realize the reality of what we are facing in this day and age. They were the moments that made us hug our families a little tighter, reevaluate our priorities, and brought on a nation that showed a little more compassion. In those times, people felt closer, more united, and more caring towards others, willing to reach out a hand to those in need.
As I was reflecting on the past recently, one pivotal moment in U.S. history that had a powerful impact on me and always stayed in my memories was the Columbine Massacre, which occurred seventeen years ago, on April 20, 1999. As some of you may recall, it was one of the first massacres of its kind in U.S. history. Thirteen people lost their lives that day, twelve students and one teacher, along with the two shooters, who ended up taking their own lives. Many were wounded. It shocked the nation and brought it to its knees. It seemed so unreal to me at the time that high school students could have schemed and planned this horrific event, especially with such gumption and enthusiasm as they had displayed. Although, through the horror of that event, stories started to unfold, about the victims, from families and friends, that caused people to look at this tragedy in a whole new light. It seemed to reveal that God was working His plans all along, answering prayers in a very different and specific way, working His will through this devastating event. One particular student who lost her life at Columbine that day really resonated with me. Her name was Rachel Joy Scott.
Rachel Scott was a normal seventeen year old junior, who loved people, but more so, loved God with all her heart, soul, and mind. She wasn’t afraid to let people know that about her and she would purposely go out of her way to befriend the outcasts, the students who just felt like they didn’t fit in. She kept a journal of her thoughts, and there is one particular quote she has been known for. She wrote this:
“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”
Rachel had more wisdom in the seventeen years that she was on this earth than some adults do in their entire lifetime. She was passionate about God and about being used as a light to help others. She was compassionate towards other people. She wanted to start a chain reaction of kindness. She was God’s girl, and God used her. She made a lasting impact in the lives of many, during her life, and more so, in her death. She died a martyr. She was killed for her faith. Yet she brought hundreds of people to Christ after her funeral aired on CNN. No one could have predicted that this tragedy was the way God had intended to accomplish it.
In the busyness of our everyday lives, we can get so wrapped up in our own schedules, routines and commitments, that we often forget to reach out a hand and show a little compassion to the people around us. It could be a simple greeting. It could be a question, just simply asking how someone’s doing, or it could be an act of kindness. It could just be a listening ear. Rachel started a movement, and I’m not sure how far it stretched or how long it lasted, but I’d like to believe it is still continuing to this day. Reflecting on the past brought me back to the moment of Columbine, and the girl who started the kindness and compassion movement. Rachel left a beautiful legacy. She had a purpose and fulfilled it. God wants to use us, too. He has a purpose for each one of us and wants to fulfill it through us. I want to have the same fire and passion for Christ as Rachel did. I want to be so bold as to not be afraid to share it with those who are in my life. I believe we can make an impact right where we live, and right now. And who knows? We may even start a “chain reaction”, as Rachel had put it. How wonderful it would be if we could all follow Rachel’s example and live as she lived, perhaps leaving a lasting legacy behind? Sometimes it’s good to reflect on the past, because we can always learn something from it. Let’s not wait. We were called for such a time as this. The time is now. God wants to use us today.