our hearts for seattle pacific

a tragedy happened in our family. at one of the safest places we know.  as introverts, we sat in our home with tears streaming down our faces. for days, weeks, while driving quietly in my car i sobbed. but to explain why i haven’t the words.  it’s such a complicated feeling of sadness, pride, amazement, love, sorrow, awe, hope, and confusion. i’ve read articles and quotes that have helped me see in words what i was feeling & have helped us sort out complicated feelings.

our hearts and prayers are with the family that lost a son in the shooting. we cannot fathom the thought of loosing a child. our hearts and prayers are with the family of the shooter. we cannot fathom such despair & hopelessness. our hearts and prayers are with the young man that stepped in willing to risk and give his life to save the lives of others.

photos all from our last trip to seattle. a beloved place to see family through blood, and family through hearts.

from a sermon by a fellow alumni at our church:

“May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationship – so that we may live deep within our hearts. May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people – so that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war – so that we may reach out our hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy. And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in the world – so that we can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring injustice and kindness to all our children and the poor. Amen.  – Franciscan Benedition

“I saw our people—traumatized, wounded, confused, hurting—begin to gather in prayer for the wounded and for each other. I saw them gather in prayer for a broken world. I saw love and righteousness in action—precisely because our people know—beyond understanding—that pain gives way to life.” 

article by the man leading SPU during our time, Dr. Eaton.  The man that ingrained in all of us the heart of our school “Engage the culture, Change the world.”

“I am dumbstruck, dope-slapped by the ambiguity of it all. The mixed-up jumble of existence we call life. Priscilla’s spiritual director from our Chicago days, Jane Koonce, told her, “In consolation, remember desolation. In desolation, remember consolation.” We do. We have. Both.”

article in huffington post

from Facebook – a professor of physics wrote on June 7th. (note – it is confirmed, the shooter did not have any connection with SPU)

Dear friends and colleagues, near and far,

Thank you for reaching out to share your care, send your warm thoughts, and inquire about our safety.

We are fine. And we aren’t. A freshman leaving my building was shot down by a stranger with a shotgun and eventually died of his wounds. The shooting was witnessed by two physics majors, one of whom was sprayed with shrapnel to his neck and torso. The shooter shot another student before being immobilized by a senior engineering student and several others. All this happened a few meters away from my office door. I was not in the building but several of my dear friends were there, including a pregnant graduate student who was just a few feet away and used her body to shield a student.

The shooter did not have any connection with the university, as far as I know. He did not know any of his victims. That makes my prideful self feel better. But I know that it doesn’t make a difference. There is no “us” and “them.” Or rather it makes all the difference in the world. An “us” vs. “them” mindset creates human suffering.

One of the benefits of working at a Christian university is that faculty and staff have similar lenses through which to interpret and give meaning to life happenings. There are no “good people” and “bad people.” There are people, with shared humanity, with common brokenness and common potential for redemption. In me lies the person who shoots, the person who lies wounded, the person who steps into the breach to save others, the person who sighs a guilty sigh of relief that he and his daughter are not in harm’s way.

I mourn for the lost innocence of my students. For the fact that my building—now a FBI crime scene—is off limits to the students who were hoping to finish their physics and engineering projects so that they would graduate next week. I mourn for the parents and friends of the freshman who died; for the dad of my student who was stuck in kidney dialysis for four hours worrying impotently about his son who had been whisked to the emergency room; for the mother of the other student who flew to Seattle from Arizona to wait in the surgery area for her daughter to emerge. I mourn for the young man and his family who have to live trying to make sense of his shootings.

But I also feel grateful that everyone rushed to support each other. I felt like a mother hen yesterday with a brood of chicks and a heart that was growing and growing to fit them all inside. I felt lifted up seeing an Orthodox Jew pray at the impromptu memorial in front of Otto Miller Hall. Across the street, the abbot of a local Russian Orthodox Christian monastery was offering words of encouragement to faculty and students.

Those of us who call ourselves Christians know that the so-called problem of evil is the most serious emotional threat to faith—why do bad things happen to undeserving people? How could an all-powerful loving God allow human suffering? But we also have the theological, intellectual, and experiential resources to know that the very question is ill-posed because it overestimates evil. Evil has been defeated, death has been defeated. Peace is not the absence of conflict—it is the absence of fear. Human suffering is not God’s will—at least not the God whom I worship. God stands with humans during our suffering. Love is stronger than evil; not in a dualistic sense but in the physics sense that a single “thing,” light, and not two things, light and darkness, is the proper unit of analysis.

And love will prevail.

I know that not everyone agrees with my metaphysical commitments. That is fine. My anthropology allows for that—no, cherishes that. I know that we all agree that human flourishing is a good thing to strive for. In that light, I wish the very best to you and your loved ones and encourage you to pick one person today to shower your love on. Your love is the embodiment of good, it is the healing agent, it is the antidote to fear and suffering. It is the only transformative force in the universe. Not as an emotional “high” but as a stance toward being that unifies heart and mind.

And I thank you again for loving us.


“We can experience anger, even rage, but we do not give vent to vengefulness. We can experience intense grief but we do not lose hope. We recognize the brokenness in ourselves and therefore try to extend compassion and mercy to other people whose brokenness has been unleashed,” Steele said. “This is our darkest day and our finest hour.”

from an article in the Seattle Times

Meis – who stopped the shooter wrote this:

“When I came face to face with the attacker, God gave me the eyes to see that he was not a faceless monster, but a very sad and troubled young man. While I cannot at this time find it within me to forgive his crime, I truly desire that he will find the grace of God and the forgiveness of our community.”


Bekkah - June 15, 2014 - 5:38 pm

Wow. Thank you for sharing this, Stacey.

Rebekah Gough - June 16, 2014 - 12:22 pm

thank you so much for this Stacy – for your beautiful heart and voice in the midst of this horrific tragedy. it has been incredible to see the light shining so bright from our community shining brighter than the darkness intended for evil. May Jesus have the final word here and heal – I love you guys so! xoxo

Jacqueline - June 17, 2014 - 5:26 am

Love you, stacy.

Shannon Seckel - June 17, 2014 - 10:49 am

Wonderfully captured. As an SPU alumni myself, this post brings comfort and hope. Thank you for sharing your heart, and these gorgeous photos, friend.

nicole - June 19, 2014 - 10:10 am

Such a touching post. I feel like you are so spot on. I love your faith. Your kindness. Your heart. You’re such an amazingly gentle and kind soul.

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