weep with those who weep

tonight I write this, heartbroken, as I know many of you are as well. I’ve been following the events coming from Newtown, CT with wide-eyed astonishment and sadness as it broke late yesterday morning.

I caught the initial report, as I sat down with G for his lunch. reports of a school shooting were beginning to come across the AP wire, the local affliates picking up specifics. I was saddened, and then went about my day. while the news certainly increases ones blood pressure, there weren’t enough details to know exactly how to feel. I had a job to apply for, and kids to pick up. and so I did.

not until I came home that afternoon and checked the NYT headlines did I know how I would begin to feel. the number of victims reached its final count, and my breath was taken away. 26 people?  20 children. I sat at my desk, disbelieving the news reports. it couldn’t be as awful as that. it just couldn’t.

but it was. and it remains. for the families and residents of Newtown, it will not fade quickly, if ever.

I’ve tried to turn off the news coverage, or stop by my hand from typing nytimes.com, but I can’t. I keep flipping the tv back on, or headed to my search engine, in the name of recent updates. and there have been many; press conferences, interviews, eye witness accounts, etc. not everything that has been published was accurate, which I saw some news agencies struggling with. many a news column has been adjusted as new information has come out.

regardless, the story that hits me is twenty sets of parents heard simultaneously that their children – their babies, their six & seven year old babies – were not coming home.

if you’ve read my blog for more than a moment, you know I have two kiddos. my daughter is four, who attends a preschool. all I have to do is think of myself in those parents shoes, and my eyes begin to well.

mass shootings like these have happened all too often recently; Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, and now Connecticut. there has been sadness and horror at all of these events, but this last one, I feel anyway, has really hit the nerve of the nation. children – first graders, going about their normal school routine – were the victims. not adults at a shooting range; not a gang member involved in a dangerous lifestyle; not a hunter in the woods. all of these examples & incidents are tragedies, as well. this, I feel, just hits another level.

it reminds me of the bombings in Oklahoma City. I was only in elementary school when that occurred, but I remember the looks on my parents faces when the news began to come in that children were endangered, or dying, from one madman’s decision. children grip a nation like nothing else can.

so many things in my life now seem small. working on goals for 2013; watching Lost; what should I plan for dinner? it all seems so petty in light of what’s coming out. at some point, there will be a shift in the nations thought process. we’ll move beyond initial shock and grief, and become reminded of what we live life for. family, friends, love, grace, forgiveness. this is what carries us through good times, and the bad. I pray the residents of Newtown can be reminded of that as they struggle with their losses, heavy as they are.

and so, tonight with my heart heavy and my eyes red, I lift up my prayers for those of Newtown. the loss of a child is something I hope to never endure. these parents have to, though. this is the deck they’ve been dealt, and they need more than anything, our nations love and support.

for many reasons, being a parent foremost, this hits me square in the chest. I am grateful for one more day with my children, my husband, my family and friends. I am grateful I got to snuggle with G as he went to bed, and I got to give S extra kisses tonight as I tucked her into bed. and through my gratefulness, I remember this passage “Weep with those who weep” [Romans 12:5]. and through my own mixed emotions of thankfulness and sorrow, I will carry those families in my heart and lift them up in prayer. I encourage you all to do the same, in your own unique way.