At the same time, there is something to say.
What do you say when there are no words?
When I heard the news, I cried. Then I wanted to get my Jena, before realizing my parents were watching her yesterday. Safe, visiting a Christmas display in Cincinnati, they may not even know the news. I refrained from calling. No need to destroy their afternoon.
My mind wandered to the children. A freakin' KINDERGARTEN classroom, for pete's sake. Four- and five- year olds. WHY?!?
And then I realize, there is no reason. There cannot be any reason. I've heard people mention insanity. Mental Illness. Demon possession. And I understand why. Because there cannot be any reason for anyone to do this. Ever.
I pictured Jena's preschool. Thank goodness her classroom is towards the end of the hallway. Thank goodness for security measures taken at the school. And then I feel guilty for being glad her class isn't at the front of the school. Because what about those kids? And I also realize that Sandy Hook Elementary had security measures in place as well. Similar to many schools. And I realize that if someone wants to commit that kind of carnage, there is little that a security system will do to stop them.
I thought about the teachers at Sandy Hook. Those brave teachers and administrators, doing what they could to protect the children. We don't give our teachers enough credit for the work they do, but rarely do we also realize what they would do, should tragedy strike. Thank your child's teacher next time you see them.
And then I dared to think about the parents. The panicked parents. I cannot truly grasp the kind of terror that must have gripped each and every parent as they rushed to their babies. A terror that is either relieved when your child is in your arms, and immediately replaced with survivors' guilt, or is replaced by a grief no person should ever experience. There are no winners here.
And the children. The poor, terrified children. To think that the last few moments of your child's life were filled with such horror... and then the surviving students. What an impact this will have on their lives. Their view of school, of humanity in general, forever changed by this day.
Now to the first responders: police, SWAT, fire, EMTs/medics, probably more. I imagine my own Jason responding to the scene. I have to think it would change him, maybe forever. There will be some that will not return to this career. They all will forever carry those heinous images in their minds. Thank a first responder at your next opportunity. They do what the rest of us could or would not. They go in when the rest of us are trying desperately to get out.
Lastly, my mind turns to the shooter. I cannot rejoice at a life lost, any life lost. But I can be grateful that he cannot do it again. His family must be devastated. To deal with the grief of losing mother & son in one day is difficult enough, but to deal with it in this fashion, facing interrogations, media speculations, public scrutiny, all while trying to make sense of it yourself... I cannot imagine how difficult this is for them.
Last night Jena got a little bit spoiled. She doesn't know it, doesn't know why. In exchange for doing one tiny little chore she should have done anyway, I let her stay up "as late as Mommy". I let her play on the computer for hours. And then I let her sleep in my bed. Three things I never let her do. As much for me as it was for her.
Tonight we will take her to see the Elves at a local Christmas display. We will have dinner with family, then enjoy a little holiday spirit. I will do my best to pretend nothing bad happened. Not because I have become "desensitized to violence", as one of my friends suggested of anyone who moves on quickly from such a day, but I will do it for my child. At four years old my daughter has no need to know what happened today. And so I will go thru the next few days as if nothing happened, as if nothing is wrong, as if my mind weren't wandering to that horrific incident time and time again. I will hold back the tears as best I can. I will be forever grateful for my daughter.
And should she overhear anything, from anyone, about what happened, I pray that God would give me the words.
Lord, we come to You today and ask that You be with the people of Newtown. We ask that You comfort all those directly and indirectly involved with the shooting. We don't understand why these things happen, nor how anyone could ever be comforted in such tragedy, but we do trust in You to do the impossible. Hold them close in their time of need.
Lord I also ask that You guide all of our minds, especially those in law enforcement and education, to find in this a way to protect our children in the future. Let this be used as a learning experience, let some tiny bit of good come from this.
Father, there are not enough words, not the right words, to express what we are all feeling, even thinking. But You know our minds and our hearts. Hear our unspoken.