Praying for our Neighbors in IV

Folks around here are shocked and deeply saddened in the aftermath of last Friday night’s shooting rampage that took place nearby in Isla Vista.  Although our family doesn’t  know anyone who was directly affected, we know quite a few people who are involved in helping to “pick up the pieces” and bring healing to the community at large…friends who work in the UCSB counseling office, UCSB employees, Sheriff Bill Brown, students…and our hearts are heavy for the students & faculty left to process it all and the families who are left with such deep, deep loss.  We’re just a quick 5 minute drive from where the shootings occurred…a place we visit often to go to our favorite taqueria “Freebirds”.  On one hand, Isla Vista can feel like another world away as it is densely populated with UCSB and SB City College students and is known for crazy college parties but on the other hand it’s quite startling to stop and realize how integrated we are to the UCSB community…in addition to our frequent runs to Freebirds, one of our favorite stretches of beach (Campus Point) is in Isla Vista, Olivia plays Volleyball at UCSB and is coached by students, Rudy will go to summer school at Isla Vista elementary, the Alpha Phis (the sorority initially targeted by the shooter) volunteer at the Rescue Mission a couple of times a month, (etc, etc) and Liv was just on campus for a field trip Friday morning…it hits close to home literally and figuratively.

I have to admit, too, that I feel a heightened sense of  (I’m not sure this is going to come out right) discouragement over these senseless killings.  I really don’t mean to make this about me but I find it a little strange that my first emotional response is discouragement rather than feeling sad or even angry.   I really think that since our family’s time, energy, resources and focus 24/7 are spent trying to preserve a life, it makes events like what happened in Isla Vista seem even more tragic to me.  It’s a very complicated situation, I know, with so many variables and I don’t want to over-simplify it by any means…it’s just how I’m feeling today….disappointed and burdened.

Ironically, as all of this  unfolded in Isla Vista, our big boys were in San Diego for a church youth conference at Pt. Loma University.  They spent 4 days with 1500 other teens competing in a variety of fun events, worshipping God together, encouraging one another and having a blast.  Wilson entered a preaching competition, Max always the sports enthusiast played hard at the sporting events and they both competed in a talent competition together  – click here or here.  (FUN!)  So, as I had one eye on the local news coverage, my other eye (albeit teary eye) caught glimpses of what the boys and their friends were up to down south on FB…stark contrasting images indeed.   It made me pray for those 1500 teens even harder…that the TRUTHS of life would root in their hearts, that they would know they are deeply LOVED no matter their circumstances and that they would CHERISH life – their own as well as purposing to make life better for others…

It feels a little weird to be plugging away at the daily schedule but there has been so much to fill our week this week…studying for finals, the DPHS Talent Show (Max ROCKED it), preparation for LP’s 6th grade promotion ceremony next week & Rudy’s graduation from Learning Tree as well as the big 6th grade dance TOMORROW!  ‘So grateful for it all…

Pt. Loma
Pt. Loma
The boys performing at the conference last weekend.
The boys performing at the conference last weekend.

I got a sweet glimpse into Olivia’s mind through poems she wrote this year in her poem journal for school…my favorites are her preposition poem which describes the day Rudy came home from the hospital and the last stanza of her “I am from…” poem.  A great reminder that “it’s all good”

Preposition Poem:  My Baby Brother

(By Olivia Geyling)

“Inside the house

Until I see the car

Through the rain I run

By the bushes

Past the tree

To the car

In my arms

After a year

Beneath blankets

At his home

Below my eyes are tears

With my baby brother.”


Praying for peace and healing for our community tonight.

9 thoughts on “Praying for our Neighbors in IV

  1. Oh, so amazing and talented that Geyling family. I really understand your discouragement over the loss while you try so hard to preserve life. I share that feeling at the opposite end of the spectrum. I have been caring for Mom 24/7 for two years now. She has been slowly declining with dementia for more than seven years. She is unhappy over hygiene issues and can be very belligerant and even violent. She hasn’t known I (or any of my sisters) are her daughter for years. I have been struggling to keep her as healthy and comfortable as possible until her end. And then I hear about the death of Maya Angelou who was only a few months younger than Mom. Up until very close to her end she was vibrant and gave so much and was able to share so much. I have to wonder what His plan is. It seems so unfair to take the Maya’s and the young, bright college kids and leave this person in the shell that was once my mother. I trust in His judgement and plan but it sure gets difficult at times.

    1. Oh dear Joyce! Yes, I completely understand….the burden you carry right now is so heavy and hard to understand and yet your perseverance each day in caring for your mom is an inspiration! Know that I’m praying for strength and endurance as well as a fresh sense of purpose to what you’re doing for your mom.

      I actually thought about you and the many medical professionals who were on Rudy’s “front line” in those early months a lot this past week when reflecting on this idea of “discouragement in the commitment to preserve life”. It made me sympathetic to the variety of scenarios doctors and nurses confront each day in their commitment to preserve life. I had an interesting experience last year when Rudy was in the PACU after his trach closure procedure. Rudy was coming out of anesthesia and we were waiting for his room in the PICU when I heard a surgeon come into the stall next to us. Since we were only separated by a curtain, I couldn’t help but hear him say to his groggy patient “something’s got to change. I’m not opening you up again. Stop smoking!!”. When a colleague stepped in to intervene, the surgeon said with frustration “How can I save him when he keeps sabotaging the process?!”. I don’t know if his little recovery room outburst was professionally appropriate but, oh man, I felt for him! It sure gave me some helpful insight into challenges medical professionals face. 🙂

      Blessings to you, Trish

  2. Great post filled with all of the mixed feelings we have here in Santa Barbara. I will say that I believe the issue is lack of support for seriously mentally disturbed individuals beginning with EARLY INTERVENTION when the first indications are displayed. We are a country replete with stigma when mental illness is the issue. I read a blog from a mom of a schizophrenic child who talked about how the family down the street received dinners and support when their neighbor’s child was hospitalized. It is a continual source of pain that she is ignored by her street mates when HER child is hospitalized. Some children are just born with a chemical imbalance. They need serious help and support from others. I cannot assess the perpetrator’s mental state in the recent shootings, but it is obvious that he was very disturbed. It is simply tragic that he was not able to be prevented from acting by his parents who were on their way to Isla Vista when the horrific stabbings and shootings occurred. My last thought is that these disturbed persons are fed by media saturation of tragic losses and the coverage of the perpetrators. Let us all pray for the victims and their families and that this country would provide intervention for mentally disturbed youth from an early age. Finally, let’s stop watching, listening and reading about these tragedies; our time is better spent in prayer. God’s answers to these very complex issues are the only ones that can really make a difference.

  3. Please tell Miss Olivia that I loved her poems. That second one warmed my heart. The ending was beautiful & touching. Much love to you all.

  4. Oh I LOVED Olivia’s poem…..the preposition one was so touching and it also is a very cool idea (gonna use it next week!!!….we’re doing poetry!) She feels deeply obviously…..and poor Mama you are too…..with this awful thing happening so close to home (I think we were there with you at Freebirds once…) HUGS and love to you all.
    I’ve been following the talented Geyling Bros. on FB… excited to see them develop into amazing communicators/artists!!!! Special kisses to Rudy from us tonight!!!

  5. I loved this whole post, Trish. And I share your response to this horror in Isla Vista – discouragement, on many, many levels, which I will not go into here. We were engaged in a bedside vigil over the weekend of this tragic event, so it took a back seat for us. My husband’s mom died Sunday night – after 5 years in the memory loss unit at Samarkand, and a little over two years on hospice care. A long, very slow dying. She was 98 – a wonderful woman of God. We have been missing her for a long time now, but her release has helped us all to re-connect with our memories of the woman she truly was – and that is a great, great gift. May the summer ahead be blessed in every way for each member of your remarkable family.

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