Millions of us have been affected by what happened on Friday in Connecticut. To call it a tragedy doesn’t even begin to articulate it. I suspect just about everyone one of us has been flooded with an intense mixture of heartbreak, anguish for the parents whose arms will ache forever more for their murdered children, righteous indignation (again, a word that is sooooo not ‘enough’), horror for a family who must deal with the knowledge of what their son has done…it goes on and on.
And yet, for all of us who are satellites, those who have indeed been indirectly touched by the nightmare of 12/14/12 but are only revolving around those who are directly affected by it, it is NOTHING compared to what those who are LIVING the nightmare are going through.
Friday morning I was feeling sick. I had just popped on the internet for a second before lying down. There was a blurb about a school shooting in Connecticut and I immediately felt sad. Not having any further information since it was just a quick briefing, I made a mental note to check on updates when I awoke.
No mental note was needed. After resting, I sat down in front of the television, like so many others did, awestruck and horrified a few short hours later, the picture being painted, becoming worse and worse and worse still. By the end of the school day, I was practically jumping out of my skin awaiting the arrival home of our own children. How sickening the realization that there were parents, just like He-Man and I, who would never be afforded such relief.
When the moment finally arose, I could hold the emotion in no longer. Gratefully, my children were completely unaware of why their mommy was so intent on squeezing them until they could hardly breathe.
As the following days have progressed, logging on to social media and checking the news for updates (hoping that somehow this has all been a terrible mistake) has become a double edged sword. There has been a flood of misinformation, half-true glurge and rumor perpetrated by others who are wrestling with their own grief and heartache. Erroneous news updates even implicated an innocent man who, in no time, was pummeled with vitriol created by a nation of people justifiably angry. Inevitable declarations supporting legislation already established or renewed demands for reform came almost immediately, again by people who are searching, just like me, for ways support the healing of those in anguish.
Then the pictures came. Suddenly the names had sweet little faces and the images left us all gasping for air once more. Every one of us can look at those beautiful faces and see our own children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, friends, cousins…and see that this is the hope for our future.
What happened on Friday can be enough to obliterate that hope we have in our hearts but WE CAN NOT LET IT. We, as satellites, must find some way to mourn with those who are mourning and comfort those who are at the epicenter of this beastly evil.
The ‘HOW’ is what I have been pondering all day.
I was reminded that as a Christian, my very first offering is prayer. If I had no expectation that the prayers I speak/think/feel would be heard, I couldn’t identify myself as such. And so I prayed deeply enough that I expected it to be heard. My normal pleas for guidance for He-Man’s next career move and for our family to have happiness in the day seemed so very distant and not necessary in the ‘now’. This day, families needed to be comforted in the very realest of ways. I prayed for them to experience that comfort in abundance. These families need peace, hope, love and charity to be poured out upon them. I prayed for that too. I prayed for them to be guided and for mercy to envelope their lives. In a moment, I wondered if they would be able to feel happiness in their lives again. I prayed that they would and that they could feel the presence of their mourned for loved ones in their lives.
I was also reminded of how we all have that internal voice. It’s still and quiet but many people of all religions and theologies recognize it and rely upon it to guide them. When a task arrives, such as searching for a way to offer another support, listening to it can allow us to provide a measure of peace to others in need. I remembered that hearing the voice and heeding its prompting is something I can also do. The challenge is to listen to it and allow it to move me to action. I will allow it to guide me in the coming weeks as I strive to remember that life for many of us will proceed as usual but for others, finding a ‘new normal’ is going to be daunting task. Those who are seeking such a thing will need the balm of love and mercy we can give them.
Tonight, as I tucked Lulu into bed, she asked me to sing her favorite Christmas song, Silent Night. I could scarcely get through the words at the end, “Sleep in Heavenly Peace”. Those words have new, heart wrenching meaning now. But I add my wish to the many who are prayer for those are hurting in the very worst of ways, that they will feel Heaven’s peace as they sleep.
Good night and Happy Sabbath.