What happened on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut feels like the extremist tragedy I have known in my whole life of 33 years. It shook me to my core and touched me emotionally in places I never wanted to be touched. As a parent sitting here writing on this topic, I cry, holding my face as the tears surface. I whisper to myself, “Oh those poor babies,” as the tears spill over wetting my cheeks. My heart feels as if it pierces itself and I get mad, “NO ONE has the right! No one ever has the right to do that or anything like it!” I feel sick to my stomach. I feel sad. I am sorry. I am so sorry for the loss, for the extreme loss of the lives taken that day.
But twistedly I understand that as much as it has pained our wide-spread community, our country, and as much as we would never have wanted this to happen, an underlying truth is that it has brought us together. It has provided a space for an emotional tidal wave to be felt by so many caring compassionate human beings and all at the same time. We have all at this point gone through the stages of shock, horror, anger, sadness, and numbness of our grief. The wound from this event cuts deep in our collective history, our collective consciousness, and our collective emotional heart-ties. We all felt this one. And through feeling it so strongly and so collectively it has also emblazed and lit a purposeful fire in which so many of us want to pursue the answers to: What are WE going to do to keep our kids safe? What can we do to stop this violence? What can we do to bring more peace to the world? – It seems sobering that all of these questions point directly to our children, all of our children. They are the way. They are the answers. We must know individually that if we teach our children right and honor them, then we’ve done our best, and that is the best place we can start. And we must know collectively that if we all do this it will change the world.
I appreciated that in President Obama’s speech at the memorial service for the Sandy Hook Elementary victims, that he commented on how it takes a community to keep kids safe. This is true. We all are responsible whether the kids are ours or not. He said, “No matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.” And so we too are united in this, that we all need to be child advocates. Making sure the children in our communities have enough to eat, have a warm place to sleep, have people in their life who care for them, and most importantly have love, kindness, kind words spoken to them, and joy. The last one is what feeds children’s souls more than anything I think- joy.
That’s all I have to say.
But wait one more thing… it has united us in prayer too. Direct intentioned prayer. Powerful prayer. And we are being heard, so keep praying!
President Obama’s Newtown speech: