In light of recent events, I feel it necessary to address the incident that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. On Friday, December 14th 2012, twenty-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed twenty-six people. Six of them were adult staff and faculty.
Twenty of them were no older than seven.
I am nineteen – almost twenty. As I reflect on the elements of this tragedy, I cannot help but notice that I am closer in age to the shooter than I am to any of the victims. That notion in itself is a bit frightening. This boy, slightly older than I, found it necessary to take the lives – the stories – of twenty-six people. My heart goes out to individuals like Adam, who find themselves in situations where mass death is more appealing than life. I do not know his story, though the news stations beg to peg a cause. All I can imagine is that it must take a lot of pain and darkness to bring someone down so far into that pit, and even more to bring others along with him.
More so than the shooter, my heart goes out to the families of the victims. I found out about the shooting through numerous social networking sites early that morning. I was puzzled, to say the least. I hadn’t any tears at that point, just a large crease in my forehead shouting the “why?” that played on repeat in my mind. The day progressed, more information made its way to the media, and I continued to feel baffled. Photographs of the victims started floating past my eyes on the computer screen, and each time my heartbeat would become a little louder. A little harder. A little more present. And yet, I had not cried.
Tears did not come until I got home and watched the evening news with my mother. The television flicked on and a man by the name of Robbie Parker stood reflecting on his daughter, Emilie. He fought back tears as he described her liveliness and joy. That is when I lost it. My mother sat beside me, her sad eyes quickly turning to shock when she saw the streams running down my blotchy face. My hands shot to cover my eyes as my body shook with grief. That man’s sadness is something I cannot even begin to imagine.
I am young. My closest experience with children is the occasional glimpse of a family out walking through the neighborhood. I have no siblings and all of my cousins are teenagers. I, myself, am a child. I do not know what it feels like to be a mother. Though I can imagine it – imagine holding a life against my chest, feeling the thump thump of a growing heart and seeing the world in the face my child – I have yet to fathom the love a parent has for her child.
I could not help but acknowledge the “why” that screamed in my head and radiated of my body. I tried to pray, but words did not come. I sat in silence, and with that quietness came a realization: As we mourn for the children and their families, God does as well. We are His children, and to see us suffer must cause Him even more pain than we can comprehend. Knowing that the Almighty mourns with us is almost comforting – knowing that we are not left to suffer alone. Robbie’s pain over Emilie and Adam’s pain within his mind is something God knows and feels. His heart breaks for ours. It is hard to find comfort when the world seems to flip upside down, but knowing that a loving, kind, and infinitely compassionate Creator cares for us is the reason I continue to carry hope. Because Christ’s heart bleeds for ours, I know that the power of good so much greater than the whole of creation is at work.
I look at Robbie and watch him as he remembers his daughter. He said that her greatest joy was to help others. His story has taken a massive blow. Emilie’s story ceases to grow. Through Christ, we hold that hope He generously grants us. I encourage you to pray for everyone affected by this tragedy. Sit in silence if you must. I also encourage you to go out into the community and bring the love, the kindness, and the compassion of God to those who are in desperate need of it. God Bless.