I'm not one to blog about "current events". This is a family blog, a personal blog, not a political platform. I'm not a reporter, an expert, or even an author.
I feel inadequate to write about this matter, being so far removed from it. Being not a teacher who can feel a closer attachment to it, or even the parent of a school-aged child.
But I am a mother. A human. And a writer. One who internalizes deeply. Who often gets lost in the chaos of everyday life by retreating into my own thoughts and observations. By stepping into the shoes and the pain of others and trying to make sense of it.
Aquaman was not going to go to preschool on Friday. He had been pretty wiped out from HFMD and though he was completely better, with so many other illnesses circulating around I had already called his school and told them that I was going to keep him out until next week. Besides, JT's car was being repaired and he had taken mine to work. But Aquaman was bored. Tired of helping me with laundry and the endless care of a toddler and baby. He had been home from school for 8 days and wanted stimulation and entertainment that I really couldn't provide him in the chaos of caring for the littler ones. So we called Grandma who graciously came and took him to school.
He went skipping off to school that day, thrilled at the anticipation of practicing his Christmas Carols and cutting with scissors- a chance to play with his friends and interact with his teachers.
That morning 20 children in Connecticut skipped off to school as well...and never came home.
I haven't seen much coverage. I don't really want to, and when I try to, Aquaman- who, though so so much like his father is also painfully like his mother- is instantly at my side wanting to know more. This is a child who had to brush the tears from his eyes the first time we read "Why the Grinch Stole Christmas" together this weekend, because, as he shouted in high emotion"It's not NICE to try to steal Christmas!"
We worked through it together. I pushed him to listen through to the ending, though he wanted to close the book right then and there.
I think, if we're honest, we're all a little like that.
By the end, he was ok. Stronger than before, more ready. "NO one can steal Christmas." he reassured me defiantly as the Whos joined hands and sang their Christmas song anyway. .
"Fear not: for I bring to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David- a SAVIOR who is Christ the Lord." -Luke 2:10
I've done my share of crying and praying since learning about the tragedies last week. I've done far more crying and all my praying for those who live than those who died. Those children, in heaven, will never be afraid again. Will never hurt again or wonder why again.
I cry for the parents who outlive their children. For the little brother who doesn't understand why his older sibling isn't there to kiss goodnight. Or why his Mom and Dad are suddenly so different. Cry for the teachers who are afraid to teach. Children, once cheerful and carefree who are suddenly afraid of everything.
Cry for the uncertainty of the future. How there are no guarantees of anything in this life. No matter how much money you have or how big your house is, or how hard you work.
Cry for the boy with so much anger and contempt.
But mostly: I cry for the depravity of the human race. Myself included. For the blackness and ugliness of sin in this world, which without being covered by the blood of the Perfect Sacrifice knows nothing but destruction.
For the fact that this, all this, is sin restrained.
Cry because it's easier to walk by than to reach out a hand and offer His Love. The only answer.
I've heard some say this tragedy is made worse by its close proximity to Christmas. And when I think about the loneliness of a gathering around the tree without the most excited member of our family there to chatter and leap around and infect us with his zest for life- I can understand that.
But I also say that there is no better time for this Season than now.
"And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!"
-It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
I don't know about you, but my form has been bending a little lower since Friday. My steps have become more painful, slower.
If this is not the time to look for that Star, then there never was a time. Look up. Don't let this steal your Christmas. Rest beside that road and hear the angels sing and know the good news, the best news of all: He came to save us, from all of this. From the fear and the anger and the darkness. THAT is why the angels sang that day, why the shepherds knelt, and the wise men searched in hunger.
Why we join together and celebrate each year: eating together, giving gifts, enjoying each other.
Because He came and because He lives, we can face tomorrow.