“What does Lily want for Christmas?” the text read on my phone. I smiled at seeing the correspondence from my sister in law. I had just finished some holiday shopping and had picked up my youngest from preschool. The sun was shining and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman”– an all time musical holiday favorite of mine – was playing.
“Why can’t I call your cell? It will not let me?” the next text reads – and then my phone rings. My sister in law – is on the other end of the phone. We talk about the kids and then she tells me not to turn the t.v. “There is some terrible news on right now.”
Terrible news was right.
The newsfeed read “Some 27 people shot in an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut by a raged gunman” – the son of a teacher’s aide at the school had done the unspeakable..
27 people, 20 of them children – one of them the shooters own mother.
I swallow back the urge to throw up and run crazily into my children’s schools to claim them – never to return to this public realm – keeping them home – forever.
Within minutes Facebook begins to light up with posts of heartfelt sorrow and prayer requests.
The messages flow -- My sweet childhood friend sends along a text letting me know how much she loves the Holloway gang here in Norton – and my phone blinks with a message from my Mom telling us how much she loves us and all of her grandchildren…
As I am sure it is the same for many of you reading this post -- we can’t help but be enveloped by deep sorrow as we think of what was lost. 20 Children’s lives -- … 27 families robbed of joy and love… Countless years stolen… Unspeakable heartbreak…
Violence in our country is minimal compared to the violence that exists (and is allowed) in other countries all over the world. However, our response to such horror is noble.. or intentions well meaning… at least I’d like to think so…
Some say that the path to hell is paved with good intentions – Such a lousy saying for us who are hopeful….
Evil is Evil. This battle is eternal. I know..
Daily, I pray for the protection of my children, family and friends.. I cannot imagine what God feels when evil like this plays its trump card…
My pastor at the Trinitarian Congregational Church here in Norton spoke in response to this violence, “I pray that somehow these people will know that God was the first one to cry when this happened and that God will help them walk through this valley of the shadow of death.”
My kids, for the most part, were already aware of the news by the time they stepped off the bus. The conversation in the minivan filled my heart with a mixture of emotions.
The questions that flowed from the minds of my children were those a parent never wishes to answer. And to be completely honest, I was at a loss as I listened as my wise little 4 year old answer his slightly older sister’s question of why someone would do such a thing. His response was simply, “Because he was a coward Faith. Right Mom? A coward.”
Guess that would be my best answer too. I added a comment about sending love to those families and we silently sent some into the universe – hoping it would reach those families whose lives have been forever changed..
I sat there biting my lip as I listened to my children tell the other how much they loved each other and me.. Hoping that it is enough…. Because in the end.. It is all there is to give.
I grasped for something to offset the bad.. Something to return what was lost… To find a shield against a visibly intangible evil..
And with that the mini-van drove home in a moment of silence that rang loudly in our ears.. Just then as the silence began to drown our hopes… A little voice spoke up… And my daughter Faith(5) spoke with an innocent wisdom..
“Love is very powerful. I love Love.”
Just goes to show you – even among the small and vulnerable -- Love can’t be silenced.