When I dropped our oldest off for her first day of kindergarten, she started to tear up. She’d never been apart from us and was scared. I remember kneeling down and hugging her…remember telling her, “don’t cry, sweetie…it’s going to be alright”.
For the most part, in our lives it has been “alright”.
I don’t know why things like yesterday’s horrible school shooting happen. As parents and educators….and law enforcement and politicians…to the best of our abilities we are vigilant in protecting our children. We worry about sharp corners, if the monkey bars are too high, is that wet floor “too slippery for little running feet?”…but we don’t foresee something as terrible as someone as evil as the young gunman in Connecticut coming to hurt our child. It’s not generally in our catalog of reasonable fears to think that someone would hurt our children like that.
Our news media makes the sharing of disaster instantaneous. We share the grief of strangers…united in the common denominator of just being parents, or brothers or sisters. We grieve for them…and try to make sense of any small part of it all around the world. We have more awareness of all the things we can’t change than at any time in our history…the fact that we can maintain concern for the tragedies speaks well of human character. It isn’t something that happened to them…it’s something that happened to us…and we grieve as a nation.
It’s a beautiful thing about our human spirit that in spite of all the information we have to the contrary, most of us seek out an optimistic outcome. When something like the school shooting happens, we are damaged…both by what we’ve lost and by what is left behind…damaged beyond repair and beyond forgetting. The shooter is gone…dead by his own hand and choice…but we are still here…dealing with the aftermath of something we can’t understand. Whether it is a horrific school shooting …or a German concentration camp…or any other strong expression of the darkest side of what a human being is capable of…we do what we can to survive…do what we can to comfort and heal. There is no spin we can put on this to give it the veneer of “being alright”…but we seek what we can find in order to heal.
I will never forget a little face starting to cry on the first day of kindergarten so many years ago…and how I was given the gift of being able to comfort her.
Pray hard for the parents and children…the teachers and law enforcement…and everyone else affected by this tragedy.