Everyday Inspiration

Everyday Inspiration

Believing in the Goodness of Love Once Again


“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” – Rumi

Death came to my part of the world this week.

I live in Overland Park, Kansas where a hate crime took the lives of three people and changed my part of the world forever.

My younger daughter, Emily, went to school with Reat Underwood, the young man who was killed on Palm Sunday. They sang in the school choir together, performed in this year’s musical, Guys and Dolls together, and along with the other members of the choir, dreamed of performing on larger stages together.


Reat was on his way to a larger stage when he died, which has left Emily and her classmates asking how the stage collapsed so suddenly, and viciously, underneath them.

In a place where bad things never happen, the Blue Valley High School students know differently now. Innocence is lost forever and in its place, fear has found a new stage.

Searching for Answers

There is no good answer to the question of, “Why?” because this wasn’t God’s will. The best we can do is help our children pick up the boards and begin nailing them back together again.

I think we start by giving a shoulder to lean on; by making time to listen; and by reminding our children that while life isn’t fair, it does give us the opportunity to be love when it’s needed the most.


My part of the world needs that love right now. We are buried under the rumble.

Join us by making a pact to choose kindness over hate, patience over intolerance and forgiveness over vengeance. This pact isn’t a cliché-filled approach to life; it’s an approach Emily needs so she can believe in the goodness of love once again.

As we approach Easter, I can’t think of a better time to make this happen so love can take back the spotlight and give Reat center stage one more time.

About Alex Blackwell
Alex Blackwell is a father, husband and writer. He writes about inspiring things at The BridgeMaker.
Web | Simple Paths to an Amazing Life | Free eBook: How to Love Consciously

  • Alex Blackwell

    Hi Pamela,

    Thanks so much for sharing your heartfelt wisdom. Like you, once I learned to surrender to God, life got easier. That doesn’t mean I don’t take action, it just means I know someone always my back – and my family’s back. And with that knowledge, comes peace.

    Take good care,


  • Pamela DeNeuve

    Alex, this is my first post. Your article touched my heart. I send warm and loving thoughts to you, your daughter, your family and community. This loss of innocence when our children learn that bad things just happen. It leaves children feeling anxious and uncertain. I lost my innocence at a young age and it caused me to be fearful for myself and the ones I loved. This fear continued to dominate me even as a young adult.

    The only way I finally found peace was to realize that everyone has a God. Their plan is not my plan. I have no power over anyone else’s plan. I only have power over certain things within my plan. When I left the big picture to some power greater than me, I didn’t have to worry so much. I found peace and began to use my energy to be kind and loving to others instead of wasting precious energy worrying all of the time. I am glad that your daughter has you as a loving father to guide her through what is a traumatic time for her and everyone involved.

  • Alex Blackwell

    Larry – thanks for sharing your love and wisdom during this time. It is sincerely appreciated!

  • Larry Hochman

    Sending love, Alex. There is no rationale to this, other than there will always be people who need an “other” to demonize in order to justify their own life going off the rails. When they form alliances of their own it becomes dangerous. Doesn’t change the fact that love is ALWAYS stronger than hate.

    Wishing you and your community peace and healing.

  • Alex Blackwell

    Buu – a wonderful, and needed, blessing for all.



  • Buu Duong

    Alex, as a father of 3 angels, I fear hearing the story that one of my children will not get to see the next rising sun. My love and prayers to the 3 families who are going through the suffering; to Emily who has to learn to face the loss of her dear friend, Reat, and slowly picking up the boards and begin nailing them back together again. And, to the family of the person who commit the killing, I can only imagine all the consequences, judgements, persecutions from people who are reacting from a place of hatred, fear. My the spirit of Easter rise to all, irrespective of their previous actions, convictions, sins,…… God bless, Buu.

  • Alex Blackwell

    This is a difficult time Fran. Emily read this post last night and found comfort in it. I think as parents we need to always tell our children that love and kindness is the better path in life – no matter how ugly the world is looking at the moment.

    Thank you for sharing your love!

  • Fran Sorin

    Alex- I’m sending prayers for Reat Underwood’s family and your entire community. It is a difficult lesson to learn at any age- but especially for someone so young as your daughter Emily. Recently I saw a documentary on Ethel Kennedy that her daughter Rorie directed/produced/wrote. Anyway, it was their eldest daughter, I think Kathleen who spoke about how she received a letter from her father TWO days after the death of Martin Luther King in which he wrote her about the importance of love and kindness even when there is so much hate. Sending all of you a big hug and much love – Fran

  • Alex Blackwell

    Cathy – we appreciate you love and prayers very much!

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk

    So sorry Alex, to hear that your daughter Emily has had to suffer this great loss. It is always so difficult to come to terms with these kind of senseless acts. I love your line, “The best we can do is help our children pick up the boards and begin nailing them back together again.” Life does go on, but for those who were close, it will never be the same. Sending love and prayers from California!

  • Alex Blackwell

    Hi Becky,

    It’s great to have you join us (I knew that you would). Thanks for the hugs and love – they are always appreciated!

  • Becky

    Wonderful post, Alex. When I initially heard about this tragedy, I dealt with feelings of fear, loss, and hatred, all mixed up. My feelings of loss came from knowing the ties Mary Beth had with JFS and knowing Emily’s ties to the stage, I feared they might have been there. When I read Mary Beth’s post on FB that she was okay, I felt relieved, then selfish, thinking of only those I knew instead of the three families that were dealing with loss. My disgust and hatred for the person “controlling” the fate of all the lives he touched that horrible day was changed when I read the post of Mary Beth when JFS was open and resilient the following day. I’m joining your pact to support those who are hurting. Please give Mary Beth and Emily a hug…and save one for yourself.
    With love, Becky

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