The dark night was shattered two months ago when tragic news exploded on the airwaves.
The Aurora, Colo., shooting had turned a carefree evening into one of horror.
Miles away in Hawaii, I was vacationing when the report came over the TV, its sparse details unfolding. Suddenly, the late afternoon light in Maui was overshadowed with the misery of the moment.
Who were the victims, I wondered while the cameras focused on the theater? And what about their families and friends whose lives would be shaken -- and forever changed -- in the aftermath?
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I breathed a prayer and clicked off the TV, so many answers coming later as the story unfolded. For those who experienced the results of this loathsome act, heartache and shock was up close and personal. But three thousand miles away on the sunny Kihei beaches, life seemed to be unchanged -- or so I thought.
On my final day at the resort, my family already departed, I stored my luggage in the front desk office. There still were a few hours of sunshine to enjoy until my taxi to the airport would arrive. However, it wasn't until I was retrieving my bags in the backroom that I understood the sun had ceased to shine for one person on the island.
"I hope my flight isn't delayed like it was on the way over," I quipped cheerfully to a staff member who'd just come through the door. "But if that's all I have to complain about," I commented casually, "then I'm truly blessed."
She paused at my words, and then told me she had realized that same thing after the Colorado massacre.
"My friend's son, Alex, was killed," the woman explained, her eyes tearing.
Time stood still as I listened to her story, how she had received a nighttime call from Alex's mother frantic with worry at not being able to reach her son. Shortly after, the news came that this 27 year-old young man who had been celebrating his birthday, was one of the victims.
"I wish you would pray for his mom and dad," the hotel employee said sadly as she related that the parents were Christians with a strong faith.
I assured her I would. But as I started to reach for my carry-on luggage, I took her hands instead.
"Tell me his parents' names," I whispered as we bowed our heads in prayer, tears flowing as we remembered Tom and Caren Sullivan's tragic loss of their son.
Minutes later, as the taxi whisked me to my flight, I reflected on the pervasive sorrow that had touched these distant shores.
Aurora may have been miles away, but even to this day as I pray, Alex's parents are so close in my heart.
* Lucy Luginbill is a freelance writer, former TV producer and "Light Notes" blogger at www.tri-cityherald.com who attends Columbia Community Church.
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