When I woke up this morning, I saw headlines about a shooting at a festival featuring Jason Aldean.
As more details emerged, I found out that it is now the largest mass shooting in American history.
I scrolled past story after story, seeing videos of thousands of people getting down on the ground as shots rang out. I heard people screaming and assuring their loved ones they were ok.
I heard mothers sending videos to their children telling them they loved them if they didn't make it out of this alive. I saw celebrities and friends alike sending their condolences and prayers to those impacted by this senseless tragedy.
Because that's what it is. It is a senseless tragedy carried out as an act of domestic terrorism. I will not, however, give the name of the man who carried this out. How someone could have so much hate in their hearts is beyond me, but our hearts need to be focused elsewhere rather than hating him.
Instead, I will focus on the victims of this tragedy. I will pray for them and their families and loved ones who are being impacted. I will focus on their health, both mentally and physically, as they try to move past this and continue their lives.
This event, in particular, however, hit me harder and closer to home than most. In June, I was at a country music festival, just like those who were there last night. I danced with friends, I sang along to every song, I drank, I enjoyed myself, I escaped from the crazy world we live in for just a little while. The same things these people were trying to do.
The headliner on the last night was none other than Jason Aldean.
That could have been me just months ago, and the only phrase that kept coming to mind this morning was, "my heart hurts."
My heart hurts for those who were killed. My heart hurts for those who were wounded. My heart hurts for their families. My heart hurts for Jason Aldean, his band, his crew.
My heart hurts for those who were there last night. My heart hurts for the country music community. My heart hurts for our community as Americans.
I'm wary. I'm tired. I'm tired of waking up to this news every few months. I'm tired of wondering, "Where next?" I'm tired of my heart hurting. I'm tired of seeing the shooters' faces plastered everywhere. I'm tired of hearing the shooters' names. I'm tired of all of it.
But I will continue. I will continue going to concerts. I will continue celebrating with other fans. I will honor the memory of those who have lost their lives.
I will continue to live my life because that's the only thing we can do.