As a mother of two elementary aged school children and a pediatric ER nurse–the events in Newtown, CT crushed me. I could imagine the terror of those parents waiting to know whether or not their children were okay. I’ve helped deliver the news of a child dying, and then grieved with all those involved.
Over the days and weeks to come, many questions will be asked. People will cry for policy changes. New gun laws. Should there be armed officers at each and every school? What about the shape of the mental health system?
These are valid points of discussion on many levels, but I think they are symptoms of a problem most don’t like to talk about. There is evil in the world. And this truth cannot be ignored or explained away. So what overcomes evil in our fallen world?
I was both impressed and troubled by an interview Dianne Sawyer did with one of the teachers who survived that day. She was amazing. Hustled her children into a small bathroom. Barricaded all of them inside. Kept her calm. Did not allow anyone in until the police keyed themselves inside. She was one of the first classrooms inside the building and expected that she may end up a face in a newspaper, too.
A true hero among many who placed themselves at risk.
What troubled me was a point in the interview when she shared that she told the children she loved them. That she wanted them all to hear something their parents would say. And then questioned if that was the right thing to do.
Is this really where we are? Is this the true dilemma in our response to tragedy…wondering if expressing love is the right thing to do?
I heard the press report that people in Newtown were taking down Christmas decorations. I sympathize with their position. They don’t feel like celebrating. Can’t feel joy when so many others are suffering. A town coming together in shared grief. Our hearts cry with them on so many levels.
And this is where I also grieve. Christmas is about celebrating Christ’s birth. We get lost in the commercialism of it and sometimes, too, I want to pack up all the decorations, and forget gift giving because it’s so far removed from the point of it all.
That God was born into this world to bring light and peace. To one day end evil and suffering. The beginning of a life long journey of love for all of us.
There are certainly no easy answers. I am praying for those in Newtown.
There is light. There is hope. There is God’s indescribable love, even amidst the evil we wish would never touch us. It’s why there is Christmas.