From the moment I first saw the breaking news last Sunday, I can’t stop thinking about you and the emotional upheaval caused by the horrifying attack at the Pulse Nightclub, just two miles from my little green house. Nor the senseless murder of a talented young musician at a theater down the street from that same green house. Nor the tragic story of a toddler dragged away from his parents in the jaws of an alligator at a Disney resort. With one awful story after another, you, my dear Orlando, must be overwhelmed with sorrow, pain, anger, horror, and grief right now.
Even though I am an ocean away, my heart is so heavy for you. I feel like I’m drowning in a swirl of emotions that no words can describe. At least, no words I can write today.
It’s such a strange sensation to be abroad when terror strikes your hometown. As the sights and sounds of another country surround my physical being, my mind’s eye can take me directly to you – to Orange Avenue, to ORMC, to the vigil on the lawn of the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, to my church community, my friends and family – all with a single panged thought.
My dear Orlando, I so wish I could be with you during this time of mourning. To cry with you. To lend a hand. To pray together. To sit in silence. To stand united. To just be with you.
However, I can only support you from afar.
You make me so proud to call Orlando home, as it is easy to see that you truly are The City Beautiful. Keep shining light through the darkness and have hope. You and your people remain in my thoughts and prayers, now more than ever.
This Orlando Expat
Being so far away from my Orlando community this week has been extremely difficult. I have had to rely on social media and news stories to connect with my friends and my city. The images, videos, and news stories below have deeply resonated with me. So, I wanted to share them with you.
I was brought to tears when the vivid and moving words of Patience Carter, a survivor of the Pulse attack, brought me into her experience inside the nightclub. Then, with all of the national and global discussions surrounding the Pulse attack, I really appreciate what Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel had to say: With the world’s eyes on Orlando, let me tell you who we really are. Likewise, I am grateful for the way Pastor David Swanson responded to the weekend’s events in his radio interview with Matthew Peddie of WMFE. My social media channels have been flooded with images from Orlando – many of them quite profound. Tanner Fox, a friend and former co-worker of mine, took the photograph that I used for the cover image of this post, which he had posted on his Instagram account. Finally, this video by Christina Grimmie, who was shot and killed after her concert last Friday night, gives me hope in the face of darkness.
How are you doing in the wake of the worst week in Orlando history?