Viewing the tragedy in Newtown through the eyes of a bereaved mother.
There are many things that you cannot possibly prepare your ears to hear nor your eyes to see. The thought of a young man entering an elementary school after shooting his mother and proceeding to strike dead 6 teachers and administrators and 20 children by gunfire, is one of those incomprehensible things.
However, on December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that is exactly what happened.
A nightmare became a reality.
I am a mother who had the unthinkable task of planning a funeral for my child and my heart breaks for the 20 families that will visit funeral homes this week to plan final arrangements for their young children, instead of planning holiday activities. I mourn with the families of the women who dedicated themselves to serving young children through elementary education and ultimately lost their lives protecting those they chose to serve. I also pray for the family of the shooter, not only do they grieve the loss of his mother, they are left in the shadow of his shame with no answers of how he could do such a thing.
I’ve struggled since the first moments I heard of the shooting to find the words I wanted to say, to express my condolences to the families forever impacted by this day. Besides how sorry my heart is for the aches they’re feeling I was wordless. It seems many others were not.
As if this senseless horror wasn’t enough, I’ve been appalled by those seeking to use it to further their own agenda.
I saw an influential blogger use this heinous act to bring attention to the culture’s view of abortion, calling abortion a greater tragedy. As a bereaved mother I found this incredibly offensive. You just cannot assign qualifiers to loss or minimize the impact of one compared to another.
I’ve seen numerous people use this tragic loss of lives to push political action for gun laws, as though our laws are capable of stopping the darkest evils of man.
I’ve seen people start to debate homeschooling vs. public schooling. It may be a gut reaction to want our children under our roof at all times, but we cannot always protect them from the world. We can only disciple, educate, and equip them while praying they grow to make right decisions.
I’ve seen well meaning people claim that this is an outpouring of God’s judgement because of His exclusion from our schools. God does not need to prove Himself to our country, no matter how far it wanders from Him. Do you really believe He would allow children to be shot dead to prove a point? If so, you’ve placed Him in a very small box.
This is not the time for any of this. It is time to mourn with these families.
To do anything else is selfish and cold. Lives were lost in a most horrific way and in a most unexpected place. Do not disrespect the surviving families by assigning your purpose or cause to these losses.
The only thing we should be focused on is supporting these families through our prayers and sympathy.
Leave your agenda aside, whether it be political or moral. There is no room for it in grief support.
Dear Lord, In Your mercy please send your Spirit to surround the grieving families in your peace in the moments when they can not even understand how to take their next breath. Welcome these dear children into your Kingdom. Through your grace allow us to see the beauty you can bring from these ashes in due time. Give those in direct contact with the brokenhearted families the right words to say and intervene to protect their ears and hearts from hurtful words that are unknowingly shared. Help all to see the hope of Eternity through the sacrifice of your Son, when even tomorrow seems so far away. We await the day of your return and the deliverance from the evils of this fallen world. In the name of Christ, Amen.