The sickening tragedy in Connecticut last week touched everyone on some level. I haven't talked to one person who wasn't affected in some way. For me, as a mom, it hit home on a very personal and vulnerable level, knowing that my own kids' schools could be just one moment away from some disturbed person walking on campus to do harm. All I wanted to do on Friday was get in my car, drive to their schools and pick them up. Or just sit in the back corner of the classroom where I could see them. Whatever works.
Unfortunately I have a boss without kids who didn't quite get that, so it was not a very early day for me. So I texted my sitter and asked her not to turn on the television that afternoon, so that we could avoid the terror from entering my home.
Instead she talked about it with her teen daughter in the car while driving my daughter home. *sigh*
My plan was to follow the advice of the many psychologists weighing in on the situation. Answer direct questions only, and try not to scare them. Instead, the second it was mentioned on the radio that evening, my nine year old daughter was all about the facts of what she had gleaned from the sitter's conversation. Joy.
I kept it simple -- answered the direct questions and didn't go into more detail than she needed. At nine, she really didn't have a lot of new ideas about what could have led to such an act, or ponder more in-depth questions of how bad things really were. Once she was situated in the bathtub that evening, her brother was a whole other story. His sister had come home and immediately told him what she knew, and he's not Mr. Simple Questions.
We held each other.
He really gave me the comfort that I needed after a day of low level hysteria. That night they both slept in my room, and I even let them eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream right out of the pint. That was a first for them.
One thing that comes from all of this, for our family anyway, is a sense of appreciating each other more. Not every second, of course. There's still sass and a little to much of the "I wants" with Christmas right around the corner. But there's also respect for the families that were planning their celebration, but are now planning funerals. And it's not lost on them that every day should be appreciated, and even amidst the chaos and the fighting, they are grateful that they are on their Christmas break healthy and happy.
One comment that brought me comfort today was a blog posted by a pastor I've known since high school. I knew him when he was a gnarly teenager and a tough Marine, and today he shared words of wisdom, in my humble opinion.
The tragedy is stunning. With all the media outlets and input it is so easy to get saturated in the tragedy that we fail to see the good. Good? Yes. It’s okay to say it. There is good in the midst of this horror. The love, compassion, and acts of service that flow from the hearts of family friends, and neighbors; the prayers of the saints across the country – across the world – as they lift up the broken and hurting to our heavenly Father and awaken to the great need still in our world. There is good happening, and we can’t afford to miss it, or dismiss it. Families, long broken over petty disputes, are brought together and relationships long-lost are healed. Parents in places far away from the event itself are led to re-think their relationship with their own children. Workaholic dads begin to shift their values and priorities. Good can come from tragedy.
I couldn't have said it better myself.