My, how things can change in the blink of an eye. I awoke Friday to a world bright and full of Christmas cheer. Then news broke of Sandy Hook Elementary: Twenty-eight dead–including twenty children between the ages of six and seven.
Six and seven. A mere two or three years older than my nephew. Babies, though they would hardly agree. After all, kindergarten, first grade, they’re a pretty big deal. Ask any first grader and he’ll tell you–he’s ready to face the world.
They should have never had to face that.
And I just can’t get them out of my mind . . .
The principal, who called her kindergartners Kinders and saw them as 74 new opportunities to inspire lifelong learning;
Six adults who offered their own lives as a shield to the children in their care;
Twenty sweet faces, so full of promise; little lives that made such an impact, in so little a time;
Teachers and staff who hid away with children, pushing aside their own fears to read and color and offer the semblance of peace;
First responders who had to witness images we dare not imagine;
Friends and families left behind–moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents . . . those whose loved ones were taken far too soon; those whose Christmases will never quite be the same.
For those of us on the sidelines, we want desperately to “fix” it. We call for more gun control and stronger mental health advocacy. We want Christmas festivities to cease and desist.
The thing is, we cannot fix it. We may work to make things better in the future; we must work to stand as goodness in the face of evil. But despite it all, some things cannot be remedied by human hands. It is the very message of Christmas.
So yes, festivities will continue. There will be the baking of sugar cookies and gingerbread twigs; hot cocoa will be served in vats and a Christmas feast will be prepared. But I’ll also be holding my loved ones a little tighter; I”ll shed a few more tears, light a few more candles, and gaze a bit longer at the Christmas tree. And through it all, I’ll say a prayer for those I do not know, yet cannot get out of my mind . . .