little did i know how quickly my ‘heavy’ post on friday would be put into immutable perspective. that’s not to say it isn’t still important, it is. it’s just a whole lot easier to deal with now. the day after.
we battle within ourselves in so many ways. marriages, children, parents, friendships, acquaintances…all of our relationships place burdens on our hearts. there are hurts. there are losses, regrets, disappointments, and unforgiveness. there are betrayals, lies, and pain. and we long to break free but we’re lured back to the familiar. to safety. even if we know that the familiar is unhealthy or even downright mean. we go back. not because we’re weak, but because we love. because our hearts want to believe the best; that truth will prevail and unity will reign. and then a day like none other in our history unfolds on a television screen for the world to see. a loss so great that none of us can begin to understand. a pain so deep that only God can tend. and we are faced with our mortality. we are faced with our humiliating narcissistic tendencies. we are faced with our greatest fears.
i watched the coverage for about an hour before turning it off. my heart simply could not bear the heavy weight of the news as it unfolded. i was, and still am, moved to tears just thinking of these precious babies and their grieving families. the loss of lives and innocence too sacred to intrude. and truthfully, the fear instilled in my own heart for my little kindergardener, at school this day, in a classroom too similar to compare. the day a nation stood still in shock as our most precious little ones were targeted with unmitigated evil.
and as surely as it causes us to be still…it places everything in perspective. every relationship division we see in our lives is periphery. it is fringe. and so it begs the question: what is central? who or what is the most predominant, defining essence of our joy? of our time? we knew in less than a heartbeat that those sweet and pure babies represent far more than a tragic loss of life. they represent a casualty of innocence. the essence of our deepest, darkest, unspoken fear. and yet, it has come. evil has come. it lives among us.
so what do we do? if you’re like me you seriously consider never letting your children leave the safety of your home again. if you watch television you become consumed with fear, sadness, rage, grief, and despair. we fight over gun control, video game violence, each of us screaming how to best protect our children, fighting for peace. screaming for peace…where there is no peace. and we’re back to that place where our hearts so desperately want to believe that truth will prevail and unity will reign. and so we tighten in. we be still and find our center. and those things in periphery? those people on the perimeter who cause unnecessary hardship and pain? those burdens just too heavy to carry? we release them a lot easier this day. the day after. because now we know. now we see. our lives are made of many small moments and we have limited time. and we live in a world that is not as we would have it. so we fill our days, our moments, with meaning. with snowball fights, and hot chocolate with marshmallows. tender books and nighttime prayers. we make sure we know our center. and we surround ourselves with a periphery of love, support, encouragement, grace and forgiveness. we make sure that when our center is in danger we have a safe place to fall. those relationships that are toxic, unloving, and unhealthy just have to go. they are heavy and they are, after all, fringe. an extra, finishing touch. let us make sure they add value. that they make our center work a little better, shine a bit brighter and grow a whole lot sharper, and wiser. and if not? then let us send off that balloon. release them to God for His healing hand. His unwavering love. His tender mercy. they are His, and releasing them is an act of love & kindness.
and so. to those babies. those precious, innocent souls now rocking in the arms of angels. we honor your life with our response: with loving our children well. looking into the beautiful eyes of our children, and seeing your eyes. letting go of the peripheral burdens that cause stress and strain on our center. releasing those things that distract us from creating and finding meaning with our families. those jealousies and insecurities that prohibit creating a safe, loving place to fall. farewell to angels. fly to Jesus, little ones. may God mend the broken hearted and bring them His peace.
let us never forget these children:
Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female (age 6)
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male (age 7)
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female (age 6)
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female (age 7)
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female (age 6)
Dylan Hockley, 03/08/06, male (age 6)
Madeleine F. Hsu, 07/10/06, female (age 6)
Catherine V. Hubbard, 06/08/06, female (age 6)
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male (age 7)
Jesse Lewis, 06/30/06, male (age 6)
James Mattioli, 03/22/06, male (age 6)
Grace McDonnell, 11/04/05, female (age 7)
Emilie Parker, 05/12/06, female (age 6)
Jack Pinto, 05/06/06, male (age 6)
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male (age 6)
Caroline Previdi, 09/07/06, female (age 6)
Jessica Rekos, 05/10/06, female (age 6)
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female (age 6)
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male (age 6)
Allison N. Wyatt, 07/03/06, female (age 6)
and the heroes who died to protect them:
Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female (age 29)
Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female (age 47)
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female (age 52)
Lauren Russeau, 1982, female (age 29)
Mary Sherlach, 02/11/56, female (age 56)
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female (age 27)
and my favorite part of the serenity prayer that is often excluded: “living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as i would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if i surrender to His will; that i may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. amen.”[post_comments]