I couldn’t sleep last night. I am sure that there are many across the county who couldn’t sleep last night. Many of us whose minds were running rampant. There were just to many things to think, to many emotions to feel…yet nothing to say. Nothing that can be done. Nothing that can be undone, as much as we wish that it could. And if you were like me and you crawled in bed with your thoughts uncontrollably racing, you know that there was nothing to do but think, think and think some more. Nothing other to do but to try to absorb events of such magnitude and process grief this palpable, this unnerving. I tried to stifle the thoughts of the numerous mommy’s and daddy’s who were not going to get much sleep because their minds will be thinking of their children. Their now lost children.
It is already happening on the news. In fact, it was already happening within hours after the most tragic of tragedies imaginable happened.
Who is to blame?
Was this preventable?
What could we have done to stop this?
Did someone know…?
People like to find a place to safely set the blame, we want to know every detail. We take things and run with them. We use things like this to justify our position. That is our human nature. We want to know who, what, when, where, why and how? How. That is the biggest thing that I, personally, take issue with.
How could…? How can…?
It’s unconscionable. It’s unbelievable. But it is what happened. Tragedies like this are the type that literally make the world stop on it’s toes. I tried to surf the internet yesterday, doing anything that I could to fill my time in lieu of watching the news. I eventually grew agitated by “news stories” of celebrities and their holiday plans or pop culture site’s “best dressed” lists. Facebook, social media all seemed so pointless, so superficial. And seeing as how there were already political debates ensuing, with people pontificating their beliefs about everything that happened, I wanted to poke my eyes out. Not all folks were, but some. Gag.
This is the kind of tragedy that strips all pretenses away very quickly. The kind that remind you with such force, such clarity of what REALLY matters in this world. What we should be fighting for. What we should be honoring and protecting. I was a grump yesterday with my children, yet they were so good to me. And while I know that no one is perfect, no one will always have good days every day, I was wrenched with guilt come early afternoon when I found out more in depth details as they emerged on the news. I Grief stricken of course, but so convicted. Because that could have been any of us. That could have been my children. And there are parents who would surely take a million days of chaos and aggravation with their children verses never having them again to love on.
Well, what now?
What do you do?
How do you rebuild?
I don’t know.
As the details emerge about those inside of that elementary school who acted above and beyond their call of duty, trying to protect the innocent, trying to do what is right, we should be encouraged. That, if anything, is what we should take away from yesterday. That is what we should hold close to our hearts. That there were those in the midst of violence, in the face of death, despite the costs, who tried their best to do what was honorable, with some paying the highest price you can pay. They fought back, they stood their ground in the face of fear. I am proud of them, and for them, if it means anything. We should all be. Doing the right thing doesn’t mean that we win every battle. But now is the time that we must choose. We must decide where we set our hope, where we place our hearts. For me, individually, I am a person of faith. My hope is in the almighty, my hope is in my savior, who I know without a doubts doubt in my mind and heart welcomed those babies into His loving arms yesterday.
I wrote that above post without having the chance to finish it on Saturday. I just didn’t feel right sharing it at the time. Three days later, I thought it would finally be appropriate to share. Yesterday, my family and I spent our Sunday in church. I taught Sunday school and it was so wonderful to see my handful of students smiling, giddy with excitement for Christmas in their Sunday best. They were beautiful. I could tell during our worship time that there were many heavy hearts in that room. People who wanted to sound joyful and bright, who wanted to sing their hearts out with meaning as Christmas day draws closer and closer, but who just couldn’t. Our pastor deviated off topic to address this tragedy. Boy, did he say everything that needed to be said.
First off, I could say that he ventured off topic from what he normally speaks of, but than again, the face of such tragedy, those words from the Bible, even specific the talk of Jesus’ birth had more place and meaning than I think they may have normally. They were more than appropriate, and solidly ON topic. I left uplifted by the time that we were through. My heart hurts thinking about those children, those families who are this week burying their babies and I empathetically mourn for them. But I am reminded. I am reminded of God and His power. I am reminded that Jesus walked a very difficult journey while here on this earth, beginning with a King seeking to murder Him when He was but a brand new baby. He had enemies from the beginning and we, too, as God’s people have enemies. Despite all of our efforts to believe the contrary and to deflect the truth that there is indeed unspeakable and insidious forces at work in this world, it doesn’t change the fact that there simply is.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I’m not someone who believes that in “the devil made me do it,” or any of it’s similar arguments. But we forget that we, just like Jesus who had people trying to cut Him off, silence, hurt and murder Him at nearly every turn, are fighting a war. I believe that what happened on Friday was nothing short of evil. There are many complex issues at work, many reasons that we could say why it happened. But ultimately, what happened was the work of evil, of the enemy. But we are not without hope, we are not without our resources and we are most certainly not left with nothing to do. Our church kneeled together; there were many tears as we dropped together with our heads hung in prayer. There was the need for repentance, for those of us who had ignored this battle for to long and who have been apathetic observers, or worse, had been complacent.
The truth is that we cannot sit back and justify ourselves and our inaction in response to what happened. We must be a praying people, we must be a hopeful people and we must be a faithful people. The time for action is now. Praying is not pacifists work, it is meaningful action. More than that, as I continue to hear stories of teachers and staff at that school who acted quick under fire, who gave all for their children and as the news reports on stories of people showing the parent’s whose children were lost that day, I already see God and His goodness at work. There are still things about Friday that I do not understand, I do not know where the road leads in my personal life, or in your own lives. But I truly do hope that for those of you who are still hurting or are grief stricken, seemingly without hope, that you read these words and heard truth. We need not be discouraged. We have a hope that is far greater than anything that we could imagine. We have a greater insurance than any law crafted by man. We have a more significant purpose in this world than sitting back and letting our despair overwhelm us. We have a stronger protection than any army We have a light amidst darkness. We have Jesus.
And He is mighty to save.
19 The sun shall be no more
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
20 Your sun shall no more go down,
nor your moon withdraw itself;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of mourning shall be ended