I once had a friend give me some wise advice,“Don’t let tragedy define who you are or who you become. It’s a part of you, but don’t let it define you.” Sometimes it’s hard not to let tragedy slip into the cracks of the fibre of who you are and let it swell, expand and take over. It can be especially hard when, like I had, you come to the conclusion that everyone else defines you by your tragedy. The uncomfortable stares accompanied by an awkward heavy silence. At times I felt like people started to see me just as,“that girl who witnessed the shooting in the school”.
Fast forward some ten years and I found myself really questioning my position in life. I wondered if I had let the tragedy define me, if I had let Post Traumatic Stress get the best of me and if there were things I hadn’t accomplished because of fear. I wasn’t sure that I had ended up where I should have been in life and was uncertain of the direction to take. It was while I was pondering this, through prayer and meditation that I had the strong impression that I was exactly where my Heavenly Father intended me to be and that if I continued to trust in Him I would become the person He intended me to become. Like the loving Father he is, at the times I need Him most He is there with love and mercy. One of my favorite scriptures is “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5) I was able to look back on my life and see how following that scripture had helped me live life as Jessie and not “ that girl who witnessed the shooting in the school”. Following that advice had helped me heal and cope. As I reflected on the choices I had prayerfully made, that had helped me heal and had brought me to be the person I currently am, I began to realize that most of the choices were seemingly unrelated to the shooting and that when we trust the Lord he will help us reach our full potential and he will help us find peace a step at a time.