I feel torn today, as I sit here before my keyboard and computer screen, trying to figure out just exactly what to say - how to say it - or wondering if I should say anything at all.
I know many of my friends in the blogging community are holding a Day of Silence in honour of the victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I feel like I have too much to say to join the day of silence… And yet, what can I say that hasn’t already been said?
On Friday December 14th, an entire community was torn apart. Lives were shattered. Innocence was lost. And 26 human lives were ended in a senseless act of violence – 20 of them little children.
It’s one of those things. Impossible to wrap our heads around it. Impossible to understand. Impossible to even grasp the magnitude of the horror those people are feeling.
On Friday afternoon, as the news started trickling through on my Twitter feed, I recall shaking my head and sighing. Another school shooting in the States. At least one student dead. Here we go again.
With each new report, new horror was born. It was an elementary school. The principal was shot. Kids were hiding in cupboards and toilet stalls. Twenty children dead. All Kindergarteners.
The ache that I felt in my chest was indescribable.
I don’t have children. But I have two nieces and a nephew, and I have many friends with children; I love them all dearly. To think of what those families were going through in Newtown was shattering. Absolutely shattering.
I left work Friday afternoon, and went with my mom to pick up my sister’s kids from school and daycare. I tried to force the sadness from my mind. I tried to soak up their bubbly excitement – Caden’s from a fun Christmassy day at school; Danica’s from her monkey-themed birthday party at daycare. When Danica had a little meltdown in the mall, I couldn’t even muster up any real scoldings for her. I was treasuring them, more now than ever.
That night, I had sort of planned on going to a party, but the heaviness in my heart held me back. Being out at a loud & crowded bar might have been exactly what the doctor ordered, but I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for it. I opted instead for pj’s, couch, quilt, and a Christmas movie. After that, I turned on the 11 o’clock news, and for the first time that day, I saw the images. I heard the heart-wrenching stories. I watched President Obama struggle to compose himself.
And then my tears fell.
The people of Newtown were never far from my thoughts all weekend. The days were filled with happy times of celebration with family – Danica’s birthday party on Saturday, Schock family Christmas on Sunday – and while the tragedy certainly made me hold dearly to those moments all the more, it also amplified the feeling of ‘This is not fair’.
It almost didn’t feel right to be making merry when I knew so many lives were completely torn apart in a not-so-far-off place.
I’ve spent so much time reflecting – wondering, hating, hurting, and praying.
I don’t know what else there is to do at a time like this.
We’re all hugging our loved ones closer. We’re all trying to make sense of why things like this happen. We’re strapped with the fear that something like this could happen to any one of us. We’re arguing over gun control. We’re discussing mental illness.
At the end of the day, I know nothing we say or do will make things better for those people; for those mothers and fathers who lost their sweet babies.
All I can hope is that they’re feeling the love and support from around the world, from the people who can’t erase their pain or make any of this better, but who are praying for them anyway.
Sending them all the light and love that we possibly can.
Lord, listen to your children praying,
Lord, send your Spirit in this place;
Lord, listen to your children praying.
Send us love, send us pow’r, send us grace.