December 14, 2012. This will be one of those dates that sticks in our minds, like the day in mid-April when there was a school shooting in Columbine, Colorado.
When I first heard the news I was shocked. I grew up in Connecticut. This sort of thing doesn’t happen. Is there crime? Yes. Are there shootings? Yes. But most small towns in Connecticut are just that…small towns. I remember when I got older and went to towns where there were 3, 4, or more high schools. That amazed me! My town had one high school. The town’s Memorial Day parade had every kids’ sports team. You rode your bike to the 7-11 down the street for a Slurpee. And, even though I never thought about it, I’m sure the parents who lived there chose the town in part because it was a small town; the schools were good, classes were small. Newton, Connecticut seems to be the same way. People felt safe.
And this morning parents sent their babies to school thinking it was just another day. I can’t imagine the fear, anger, heartbreak, among other emotions that the parents in Newton are feeling tonight. Among my first thoughts, I decided to never let Baby Girl go to school. I know it’s irrational. But this morning I just wanted to hold her close to me forever. I won’t, but I do hope that this tragedy reminds me to hug her tighter, to spend more time with her, to be grateful for the gift of her life.
My other thoughts went to the teachers and administrators at the school in Connecticut. Having taught at an elementary school I pictured the security measures we had in place at my school. I thought about the front office staff, the administrators, those who would’ve tried to stop anyone who was disruptive or out to hurt the students. My heart broke again. Those who lost their lives did so trying to protect those students. They gave their lives for those kids, even before the events of today. They were dedicated individuals, who shouldn’t have had to do what they did today.
This shooting affected me more than any others in the last several years. Some of that is due to the age of the victims. They were innocent children. Children who didn’t know what was happening or how to protect themselves. Some of my grief comes from being a mom of a young child. How does a young child process what they saw today? How does a parent accept the loss of their child at a young age, just weeks before Christmas? I know the proximity to my hometown affected my response to this too. Connecticut is not a large state. Newton is less than an hour from where I grew up. It is the quintessential small New England town, where bad things don’t happen.
I’ve spent the day praying that God will give those families and students a special peace today, that something good will come from all of this. I’ve also been praying, “even so, come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20) I can see our world is getting worse, people don’t respect each other or human life in general. I don’t think any politician can fix this. I don’t think taking away guns will help this. I don’t think stricter ratings for tv shoes and movies will help this. I think only God can fix this. When He returns those who have called on Him will go to heaven…and all will be perfect. There will be no more death, no more sadness. God will wipe away the tears from our eyes. (Revelation 21:4) I’ve spent much of my life asking God to wait, to let me live a little more. There’s so much I want to do. But truly, I can’t wait to be in a perfect place, where there is no fear, no horrific killings.
Tonight, please hold your children close. Please tell those around you that you love them. You just never know. And make sure that you have peace with God. Make sure that you are certain where you’ll spend your eternity.