One week has passed since tragedy struck Virginia Tech, leaving the nation in shock and in mourning for the past several days. Now, news crews, for the most part, have left the campus, and the front pages of the nation's most-read news sources are no longer blaring photos and headlines centered on the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Students, meanwhile, are returning to their classes as the nation tries to return to normalcy – though some of those directly influenced by last week's tragedy acknowledge that normalcy may never come back; and if it did, it would be a different type of "normal."
So, has this dark chapter in America's history basically come to an end?
A 23-year-old gunman goes on a shooting rampage, ending the lives of 33 people, including himself; the nation mourns and then moves on?
In the history recorded within the Bible, human tragedy is almost always followed by miraculous transformation. Through the intense persecution that separated and scattered the first Christians, the Gospel message was able to spread out even faster and further. And, most notably, through the death of Christ came the salvation of all mankind.
In situations seen initially as tragedy, God opens new doors of opportunity to turn what was meant for evil and use it for good.
What transformation will come from last week's tragedy?
Are we going to take this opportunity to try to give meaning to the senseless loss of innocent lives?
What kind of ending are we going to give to this tragic story – an ending filled with mourning and goodbyes?
While we can't save the lives of those who have left, we can save the lives of those who are still here.
Gregory Eells of Cornell University's health center points out that "a lot of the things that have been said about this young man are applicable to hundreds of thousands of college students, in terms of dark writings or violent writings, and even problematic behavior, even sometimes stalking behavior.
"That's more common than you would like to believe," he told CNN.
And what has become clear is that at numerous points over the past year and a half, critical incidents took place that at least gave people around loner-turned-gunman Seung-Hui Cho – as well as administrators, police and mental health providers – windows into his state of mind, and perhaps chances to alter his path to destruction.
Many Virginia Tech students, however, say that they do not want to second-guess and are content that university officials and those who came in contact with Cho did the best they could to prevent the tragedy.
And it's possible that they did do the best they could.
But the question that should come to mind is not whether those around Cho did their best, but rather are we doing our best for those that we're around who may be in need of outreach?
Following last week's tragedy, there needs to be a greater effort to reach out to the lost and the helpless.
If the many people out there on the path towards destruction can be saved as a result of the tragedy, then the fruits of good can outweigh the fruits of evil.
The nation and its people should move on, but not by closing this dark chapter in history with the burial of the dead. Rather by adding to the chapter a brighter ending – with the hope of new life.