Roy, Sheena, D, K, A, C and L

Roy, Sheena, D, K, A, C and L

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Thinking Thoughts

This is a post about the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.  I wrote it because I needed to release the thoughts that have been bouncing around my head since Friday.  This tragedy threatens to overwhelm me at times.  I hope you'll be patient with me as I try to process the emotions I'm feeling.

On Friday I taught preschool, got K off the bus and was preparing lunch when I got an automated phone call from the school district.  "In light of recent events across the country, VPS is taking additional precautionary measures, including increased supervision and security, to ensure students and staff members are safe."  Hmm, okay?  There have been some violent acts locally that I figured they were referring to but I decided to log on to the internet to see if there was something up.  And of course there was.
One article was all it took for me to understand the scope of pain fanning across the nation from Connecticut.  A horrific act, unthinkable by all but the most base of minds.  One article changed my day, my weekend and is still lingering today as I kiss K goodbye at the bus stop and drop D off at the front door of his school.  A front door flanked by the principle and a police officer.  
I've thought many times since Friday afternoon, why is this so painful?  There have been other school shootings.  There have been bombings with higher death tolls, even among children.  There are unthinkable acts against humanity occurring every day in other parts of the world.  So what makes this event stand out?
For me the answer is two part.  First of all, this shooting took place in a public elementary school.  We've had school shootings before in this country.  Always they are terrible.  But this was a man who choose to go to a place where the most innocent among us congregate.  He chose the most innocent of those to destroy.  Kindergarten is a time of wonder and excitement as the world of letters, numbers and school in general begins to unfold before young and beautiful minds.  
Second, I am a mother.  I am a mother of the victims.  I have a kindergarten student.  I have an 8 year old.  I send them to school everyday where I trust their teachers to protect, love, teach and nurture their young minds.  So far I have not been disappointed.  Whenever my mind wanders to that hallowed ground in Connecticut, I can't help but see the classroom K goes to every day.  I can't help but think of the two dedicated teachers who work so hard to make school positive for my children.  
And so on Friday I wept.  I wept for the children who died.  I wept for the innocence that was taken from those who survived.  I wept for the teachers who died trying to save their students.  I wept for the teachers who did all they could to protect the students in their classrooms.  I wept for the broken heart of a mother.  I wept for all the Christmas gifts lovingly bought with visions of delighted squeals that will never be heard.  I wept for my children who are safe, my girls downstairs with their innocence in tact and my son blissfully participating in a classroom Christmas party.  I wept for the world in which such an event happens.  Mostly I just wept because there was nothing else to be done.
I wanted to hug my children close to be.  But of course a crying mother is not the security I wanted to give to my girls.  When I could hold myself together, I brought them to me.  We snuggled and giggled in my bed while we watched "Jake and the Neverland Pirates".  I didn't tell them.  Not yet.  We just loved.  And when D got home, he came too.  
But through all these emotions, I have faith.  Even though horrible things happen, evil exists and agency is abused, there is still love and hope.  Although I still feel a cloud of sorrow, I do not feel despair.  I chose to feel hope that comes from knowing with a sure knowledge that those children and all children are loved by God.  I seek comfort from the knowledge that angels attend all children who suffer.  I even take comfort and hope from the knowledge that God will not take away our agency even though it may cause him to suffer and weep as He sees the choices some make.
So for now, I love my children.  I pray for the families who lost those innocent bringers of joy.  I pray for the children who survive that they will be able to sleep peacefully and go to school again someday without fear or anxiety.  I chose to not read the news or stories about the victims because the sorrow of such assaulting violence and even amazing heroism is too much for me to internalize.  I pray for those across the country who do not feel hope - only despair.  And I look to my God for the comfort I need to carry on as a mother and keeper of innocent, beautiful souls.

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