The following post was written by Crossing Borders' Executive Director: The unthinkable happened on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. A crazed gunman shot and killed 20 children who were at school. This has left us to ask several difficult questions about the goodness of God, the nature of our laws and what has become of our society. We have also seen a decency to human beings that is inspiring: Teachers shielding their students from gunfire and school administrators who did not hesitate to help those in need.
The tragedy and heroism that unfolded in Newtown reminds me of the way that Crossing Borders started. Our official start date was January 1, 2003, but the seeds for our work were sown on September 11, 2001.
We watched the Twin Towers crumble on television and later we heard stories of the heroism of the firefighters, policemen and others, who disregarded their own lives to save a few.
We were in our early 20s, many of us just out of college as this terrible day unfolded. We did not decide that day to start Crossing Borders, but many of us were inspired to live selflessly for a greater purpose, to help those who would otherwise die without our help.
And this is not just the testimony of Crossing Borders. Many of the non-profit leaders we have met throughout the years who started their work at a similar time have also attributed their beginnings to the terror and hope shown on September 11.
Though horrific and bloody, tragedy has a way of awakening the human spirit and reminding us that there are things much more important than our Christmas lists or New Years plans. It reminds us that human beings are made for community and when people are hurting, we can and must help.
Whether it’s North Koreans in China, Syrian refugees in Turkey, raped women in the Congo or distraught families in Newtown, Connecticut, let us pray this week that the tragedy and sadness in the world will awaken the best in all of us.