It's just me, typing because it's all I know to do right now. I hope that somehow you are blessed through my words.
Today, I don't want to share sweeping cliches or an image of a candle. All these FB postings of what Fred Rogers or Morgan Freeman said aren't comforting to me---in fact, they anger me. Why are we trying to make sense of nonsense? Nothing anyone seems to do or say is enough right now. We are all deeply sad, hurt, confused, angry. Our minds GO THERE, to dark and sad places. Our hearts are heavy. We can't hold our children close enough.
I had a hard time sleeping last night. Every pop of the heater duct work bothered me. I was hearing noises like a five-year-old child believing there are monsters in the closet. I'm angry that one person can steal so much courage and strength and peace from people. I feel restless and skittish.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.
I had a hard time leaving my daughter at school today, and I wasn't alone. Many parents lingered at drop off much longer than usual. We all gave our children extra hugs and kisses, saying, "I love you" an extra time or two. I was relieved when it was time to go pick up my daughter. I wanted her in my car, under my protection, as swiftly as possible without her thinking something was drastically and irrevocably wrong with the world she otherwise feels safe in. She has seen no news coverage; I intend to keep it that way.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
I have a hard time looking at our beautiful Christmas decorations and piles and piles of presents. It dawned on me that there are a couple dozen other families in CT who have piles under their trees too, and there are gifts under those trees with names on them. Names of people, people who won't open those gifts.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
I'm trying not to watch much news. We never watch news in front of the the littles, and I rarely watch the news at all. It's usually too much to see right before bed. Most of it is very dark.
But these past few days have been the darkest.
What is the right response in this situation? Is it to pray? Is it to cry? Is it to blog? Is it to call the NRA or write a letter to the President? Is it to celebrate Christmas as if nothing has happened, or celebrate Christmas knowing that Christ is our ONLY hope? Is it to mutter weak Christian cliches to one another? Is it to finish our Christmas shopping and take our kids to visit Santa at the mall?
I have gone to my Bible a few times, but I'll admit that I'm sort of angry at God. Why did this happen? And like many people, I'm furious that children were subject to such evil. As a mother, my #1 instinct is to protect my children with everything I have, even my own life if necessary. No Bible verses stuck out to me as I flipped aimlessly through the worn pages.
I feel like perhaps God is telling me to not even try to make sense of this situation. That's not my job, nor is it beneficial. I want to fight. I want laws to change (but to what, I have NO idea), I want the mentally ill to receive the help they need, I want people to have the courage to speak up when something isn't right and for "higher ups" to take such concerns very very seriously. I want my children to NEVER be subject to gun violence. I want to feel that my middle-class suburban lifestyle is immune to everything bad that could ever happen.
Friday's event reminds me of how vulnerable we all are. How incredibly fragile life is. How precious children are and how brave teachers can be. There are glimmers of hope (that there are GOOD people in this world who will stand up and fight, even if it means they might lose their lives) overwhelmed with waves of hopelessness.
I'm reminded that we live in a fallen world. That if we seek complete joy and peace and happiness while we are living, we will NEVER find it.
Christmas is about hope. It's about promise. And even though this year's commercial-driven Christmas has been drastically shifted for many of us who can't get into what we deem the "Christmas spirit," we realize this shift in focus is turning us back to what has always been the point of Christmas. To get down to the very basic environment (a manger, a field, a star) and people (a young couple, shepherds, and, of course, a baby boy) who together offer a very simple message:
"8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”