Sending them to school on Monday after the Sandy Hook shootings on Friday

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I was enjoying dinner with my sisters and Mother, a once a year Christmas treat, on Friday evening.  That is when I first heard about the shootings in Newtown, CT. 

The waitress interrupted six women imagining the worst thing that could happen to our children, wanting to know if we were ready to order.  I felt empty, sad, and guilty shopping at TJMaxx afterwards.

This weekend we celebrated Christmas with my husband's family. 

It was everything that Christmas is supposed to be with family.

And yet.

The heaviness.

The hushed quick conversations between the adults about the tragedy.  Not wanting the children to hear.  Please no, keep the ugly evil out of their mind a little longer, please.

I found myself hoping that my own six-year-old would tell me her throat was sore again, so I could justify keeping her home. I did not want to put her on that bus. 

Maybe it is a coincidence, but many children and their mother's were not at the bus stop this morning.  For a moment the idea grabs holds of me that like me they kept their babies home.  Irrational yes.  I feel a sting of something akin to guilt in a split second:  should I have done the same?

It makes no sense.  But neither does Friday's shooting.

But she ran up to the bus, idling and flashing its extended stop sign. She was excited because "everyone has to wear green today, cause its grinch day". She chose the velvet green dress her grandmother made years ago for a sister whose grown too big to wear now.

All this weekend images in my mind bobbed to the surface of my mind as I enjoyed family; enjoyed the Season of Hope. It would stop my breath. The tiny world before my eyes slowed its pace in front of me, and it seemed so pointless, so profane to be celebrating and happy right now.

But what exactly am I supposed to do?

So I shopped. 

Eat, drank, and was merry.

Today my babe turns 4 years old and she wants to celebrate.  I want to celebrate with her.

Late Friday night after Tim and I talked and cried till the fire was low I slipped in bed with each sleeping daughter and wept.  I thanked God for the breathe I could feel filling up quietly in their lungs.

I wept for the parents of twenty dead babies. The others who lost spouses, sisters, brothers. I knew I should pray for them, but no words came. 

What precisely could I pray? Every thing seemed again, pointless and profane.

I did not even what to post anything about the shooting.

I am a 32 year old housewife.  I know nothing.

And yet, I know what it is to be a mother.  I am certain millions of mothers in this country and around the world are sharing a mutual messy muck of emotions birthed by grief, fear, and unanswered questions. It is with them in mind that I reluctantly strike these keys, trying to get what wants to get out of my head and onto a screen, as simply and gently and honestly as possible.

Self-indulgent.

That is the other side of the penny.

Talking heads with suits and microphones are addressing all the usual suspects:

Gun control, mental disorders, along side theological explanations of an angry God: neat tidy sound bites that attempt to explain the thing that no one wants to say:

Evil is real and among us.

Will legislation on guns stop its spewing?

Will increase shuffling of money to psychological institutions remedy darkness of the heart?

Even the religious rights' chants of our need to teach intelligent design instead of evolution, will not slow down the march of evil.

Yeah, alarming rates of increased violence needs to be addressed.

Mental sickness is real and complex and needs to be brought out to the light even more.

Instructing children they are designed with purpose and therefore matter, and not a random mutating accident would provide a much needed foundation of divine value to a child's mind.

 None of those debates dominating the news and internet right now are extending any comfort to the grieving today.

That is why I use the word self-indulgent.  It temporarily soothes the ones who just like to be heard, or the ones whose heart is so torn he or she can't delve in deep because it hurts too much.

A band-aid for gangrene.

No, as I cried in my daughters' darken rooms on Friday none of those things came to my heavy mind. What filled my mind's eyes was,

The image of Christ crying out:  O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, how often would have I gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.                                    Matthew 23:27

 

The baby we celebrate at Christmas, the dying man we remember and give thanks for on Easter is all that can stand before, explain, and defeat the disturbing evil of 20 children dead.

But, like a ping pong ball in my head, all I could then refute in my mind was:

" But if that was my baby I would be just as angry at that same Jesus as I would be heartbroken for my child"

And yet, it is this Jesus, this God-Man that on Friday at 9:30am at Sandy Hook Elementary seemingly was either not around, or incapable of stopping a twenty-year-old, that those parents, the whole community, our entire grieving nation needs right now.

And that is why experts will keep on talking about guns laws and mental sickness as their own offering to explain and hopefully solve evil acts like Friday.

It is easier to explain evil on human terms, because the divine alternative seems so out of reach.

Yet, kneeling on their quilts I was flooded with the truth that God is near the broken hearted. 

"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep" wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem Christmas Bells.

{Mark Hall of Casting Crowns made this into a song titled I heard the bells, and it is one of the most beautiful moving songs I have ever heard and recommend down loading it}.

The poem's stanzas before state eloquently:

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men !

And in despair I bowed my head:

"There is no peace on earth" I said,

"For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep!"

The Wrong shall fall,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will towards men!"

 

The question of why does God let evil things happen is as old as religion itself. This lady will not attempt to sound theologically smart or offer trite simplistic answers.  Yesterday I came across the written words of David Platt.  His book Radical, I consumed a weekend I spent away, by myself last March.  It altered, set my mind spinning, yet put it at great peace all at the same time.  I, my husband, and my children are not the same because of the simple, humble truth of his book.  He wrote such sensitive, sound words about Friday's shooting.  A thousand times better than this fool. If you are grappling and feeling heavy and unsure please read his article.  It blessed me. 

And of course, the lady who I consider a modern day prophetess. That Canadian, pig farmer's wife and mother of six, Ann Voskamp, wrote in her blog post today, a Holy Experience  words beautiful, true, and sure. 

Wavering, fearful one read her spirit-filled words.

Lastly, you mothers who are being crippled with fear because it's unsafe, but you can't keep them locked at home.  Because everyone is saying the killer's parents were good people and had a good home, and you find yourself stopping mid stream in your day and staring, and imagining and you hold your breathe and want to cry…

Breathe gratitude for what you have right now.

God lives in the present now.  Be present and thankful now.

Banish the "what ifs" and "how comes".

Chose to enter in instead, in the real grief of others right now, not coddle your own imagined.

Pray God will comfort hearts broken.  Christ will tenderly gather up his children who are confused and hurting like a hen with her chicks. We posses the ability to step into and be the real spiritual healing balm of Christ when we pray for others in Christ name. That is one of the greatest and amazing gifts of Christ to us.

Do this every time you get gripped by your own thoughts.

It is not natural, or easy, but it is healing.

**************************************************************

I have been so blessed by Ann Voskamp's words in her book One Thousand Gifts .  She has recently put out a devotional . Mainly writing about the topics of pain, hard questions, and finding joy and light in a broken dark world.  I feel a sure whisper to head on over to Amazon, put several copies of her devotional in my shopping basket and purchase those books.  Any one who would like to read her words, all based on Scripture and what Christ taught while He walked this earth, need only email me and supply your own mailing address and I will send it out for free. A gift, to those in need of the lifting power of the gift of true humble words bound in a book.

leahbeecher@hotmail.com

Cheers




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2 thoughts on “Sending them to school on Monday after the Sandy Hook shootings on Friday

  1. Beutiful post Leah, you say it all so eloquently.I personally think that it’s about time people in general, stopping blaming God for the woes of the world and start getting mad at the devil. He’s the one who’s in control of our world because of Adam. He’s the one that comes to kill, steal and destroy. Giving your heart to Jesus would pox the devil off and wouldn’t that be a lovely thing to do?
    Wishing your lovely little family a very merry Christmas, and happy birthday to the Babe.

    Like

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