Since the events of last Friday, I have become heartbroken.
That wasn't always the case. On Friday, when reports starting pouring in on my Facebook feed while I was at work, I tried to tune them out. Friday was supposed to be a happy day after I dropped off cookies at my doctor's office in the morning to come home to pack for our trip to Branson that afternoon. We left for the weekend after work, and while we talked about the Sandy Hook shooting and gun control on the way, those tragic losses did not occupy my mind fully.
I was able to block out the news on Saturday as well after we headed to Silver Dollar City to see the lights, drink wassail, eat funnel cakes. But I started to hear more about the children and those who tried to protect them.
Then on Sunday, when I first saw Emilie Alice Parker's face on a friend's page, my heart just cracked.
Strangely, rather than wishing never to have a child in such a fallen world, I longed for one. I wanted to wrap my arms around a child and cry and pray over that sweet life. I'm not a mother yet, and I don't know if I will ever be, but I felt like a mother when I saw all of those sweet faces, the adults included. I've seen several people comment that this has been worse than 9/11, and in so many ways, I agree.
I don't want to say that it's worse that children were gunned down as opposed to teens or adults because the loss of any life--even Adam Lanza's--is a tragedy. But somehow, it is worse. So much worse. These were babies, some who probably hadn't even experienced loss or death or any kind of fear. I keep seeing Olivia Engel's smiling face and thinking of Noah Pozner's twin sister Arielle who has been left behind. And I keep picturing Lauren Rousseau, who was supposed to go see The Hobbit with her boyfriend last Friday, and Rachel D'Avino, whose boyfriend was supposed to propose on Christmas Eve. Of the teacher who told her small pupils she loved them, so that the gunfire wasn't the last thing they heard. Not so long ago, all of these adults were six and seven, too.
While I would never have wished this to happen and pray that it never happens again, I am thankful for how we have responded. I believe it was Ann Curry who challenged her viewers to commit to acts of kindness in memory of those who were lost last Friday. I have seen several people make contributions to help grieving Newtown. I watch as we vow to spend more time with those we love and to make known to them how much we love them. And we have.
This week, I am thankful for life, for love, for the Cross that gives us the greatest freedom to live and to love each other forever.