Friday, December 14, 2012

Sorrow

I cannot possibly write tonight without pouring out my sorrow about what happened this morning in Connecticut. I have to confess that this national tragedy has affected me more than any other in my lifetime.

I remember clearly that day in 2001 when terrorists attacked our country. I remember allying the fears of my students, and that as the day wore on fewer and fewer of them remained at school. It was one of those days when you wanted your children around you - when your security was shaken and you needed to know that they were alright. I understood what motivated those parents to come and gather their children, in a surface sense, but today I understood in a much more palpable way, because today I had Abby - in 2001 I didn't.

My first instinct, when I heard the news, was to run to Abby and take her home. Jason had the same reaction. The fact that the majority of the victims were Abby's age made it so very easy to envision myself in the place of those parents. I just wanted to see and touch my daughter, to assure myself that she was indeed safe. I know I was not the only one.

I also couldn't help but make the connection to my school. Questions like: What if something like that happened here? and How would I protect my students? started running through my head. We've had "lock-down" drills, and we've practiced what to do, but it has never seemed real. I never really thought that something like that could walk our halls - today that changed.

As soon as school was over I drove over to pick Abby up. She wouldn't be riding the bus today - I needed to see her as soon as I could. Although everyone greeted me with a smile, there was a somberness about them. When Abby's teacher walked her down the hall I could see my heartache reflected in her face. Abby was excited to see me and assumed that I would be taking her to my school, because I had a meeting, but I told her there was no meeting, that "Mommy just needed to see you." Abby's teacher continued my explanation by telling Abby, "It's a good day for everybody to see their kids." That's when the tears came. Abby's teacher gave me a quick hug of understanding as I tried to pull it together.

Abby asked for a pizza on our way out to the car and I didn't even hesitate before agreeing that a pizza would be a great idea. As we drove to get it I continued to try to reason this all out in my mind. I wanted to get home to read more about the shooter's motives. I wanted to find a picture of him, if only to prove to myself he looked as troubled on the outside, as he so obviously was on the inside. I finally had to come to the conclusion that there was no sense to this crime, and it was the senselessness that made it that much more horrifying. Evil has no reason, it just is.

Today I was shaken - I still am. The sense I had that my family is safe isn't quite so strong tonight. My heart bleeds for those parents who lost their children, and the children who lost their parents. I cannot imagine the depth of their grief and loss.

Tonight we did our bedtime routine as normal. We read stories, we listened to music, and Abby fell asleep in my arms. Usually after a few minutes of listening to her deep breathing I slowly disentangle myself and head off to my evening, but tonight I laid a bit longer with her head on my shoulder and prayed for all those moms whose arms are empty.

And so I hold onto this promise...

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

as I continue to pray for those hurting families and a wounded nation.

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