Yesterday morning was a morning just like any other in our house. I was puttering around in my kitchen, writing a grocery list for our trip later in the morning and pouring over the recipes for cookies and treats I planned to bake. The boys were in the living room watching Disney Jr. I ran out to the laundry room and retrieved some freshly dried blankets from our newly installed dryer and brought them into the living room. I asked the boys if they wanted to snug-snug with the nice warm blankets, to which they replied yes. I tucked the warm blankets around them and went back to my kitchen puttering.
A few minutes later, I peeped around the tree and had to snap a picture of them.
The image of my boys all snuggled together, safe and warm, was so sweet that I went to Facebook to share it. When I logged in, the first thing I saw was a friend's status that just read "Heartbreaking." Then I noticed numerous other statuses echoing this sentiment and quickly headed to a news website to see what was happening.
And it was unimaginably horrible.
It continues to be unimaginably horrible. Twenty 6 and 7 year olds, gone. 7 women, gone. In the blink of an eye, countless lives altered forever by the act of one person. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around the senselessness of this tragedy. And it is a tragedy.
I look at Little Man, just a little younger than the majority of the victims and I cannot imagine the depth of the grief the parents of the youngest victims feel. I do not want to imagine it.
Every little thing yesterday made me think of those parents. As I buckled Little Man into his car seat, I thought of how many of the victims likely still rode to school in car seats and how their parents didn't know that was the last time they'd ever buckle their child in.
I thought of all the frustrating mornings where it is a hassle and a headache just to get the kids out the door and how sometimes after dropping them at school/childcare, I think "phew! Finally a moment of peace without any whining and crying and back-talking." And I pray that none of the victims' parents had a morning like that yesterday.
I thought of how it was the middle of Hanukkah and about a week before Christmas. A time of year full of hope and magic and peace. All that is gone for these families.
Last night as I drifted off to sleep, with Little Man snuggled up to me (he usually sleeps in his own bed, but for some reason last night he crawled in with me), I thought of the moms and dads in Newtown who were likely in a fog, staring in disbelief at the empty beds that just that morning their bright-eyed first grader rolled out of. Just that morning, their baby was alive. They ate breakfast, puttered around the kitchen, talked about plans for the weekend, the normal stuff of a Friday morning. They dropped their babies off at school. A safe place.
I think that is what resonates most with all of us. An elementary school is supposed to be a safe place, and yet yesterday it was not. I don't know where we go from here. I don't know how we go from here, but I do know that God is with those families. In times like this, God is near. God is Love.
And I think of a verse that has always comforted me:
"The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18.
Because right now, we are a broken hearted nation. Right now, the families of Newtown, CT are crushed in spirit. But the Lord is with them. Lifting them, holding them, guiding them as the grieve. And I believe the Lord was there to meet those 27 souls as they departed the Earth.
I pray for the families in this tragedy and will continue to pray for peace in our world.