I can’t stop thinking about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown. Eli is in kindergarten, and the same age as most of the victims.
20 Elis are dead.
Friday, the day of the shooting, I had started a post in my head reflecting on my children and about cherishing all of our little moments. But this isn’t about me, or my kids, or about being grateful for the simplicity of daily life. The reality is 20 moms in Newton will never have those “little moments” with their kids again. 20 families have carefully picked presents wrapped under their Christmas tree that will not be opened. 20 dads have to walk past their child’s empty bedroom. Little siblings are wondering where their big siblings went. Big siblings are trying to make sense of injustice. A whole community has been changed.
20 moms have to watch as their fearfully and wonderfully made child gets closed up into a box and buried in the ground. Gone forever. Always wondering how life would have been different if their child was still alive. What if we had stayed home sick from school… what if we bought that house in a different district… what if Adam Lanza had a friend to talk him out of shooting children. When did shooting children become a way to express your hurt and anger and sadness and bitterness at the world. My God! My God, Why?
I would be scared of forgetting the feeling of Eli in my arms, the sound of his voice and his laugh. Fearful of watching an old home video and wondering if that time was ever really real. What will it be like for the Newton moms to fold the next load of laundry and find a tee shirt her child wore days ago but will never wear again? Everyday your heart breaking all over again. Weeping, screaming and hoping to wake up from this nightmare.
Across the country people are doing 20 acts of kindness in honor of the each murdered child. (Some are doing 26 to include the murdered adults.) I think it’s a great idea. If I was one of the 20 moms I would like to hear that thousands of people were doing good in honor of my precious lost child. But, of course, I would really just want my child back.
But the most comforting passage for me when anything happens to children is Matthew 18 6-7 (The Message version). “But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to you if you do.”
Which basically shows what a jerk I am. God throwing evil people into the ocean with a giant stone tied around their neck and the word doomsday… yep, that about sums up my thoughts. I should probably work on that. But most likely I won’t.
I’m trying to decide how we are going to do the 26 acts of kindness. Maybe we’ll combine it with the Christmas sacrifices we are already doing. I don’t think you need to be legalistic about it, but making a list of 26 things you can do with your kids to comfort/help/serve others is an awesome start.
I’d love to know your ideas for the list or your thoughts about the shooting. Leave a comment, and if you’ve written a post, leave the link.