Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Grace in the Face of Grief

After what happened in Connecticut on Friday, I found my creative spirit and joy snuffed out. I found myself crying spontaneously when I would see one of my girls spin around and laugh. When I would address a Christmas card I would think about those families who had already sent cards with smiling pictures of their precious little ones-maybe the last photos they had taken before their lives were taken. I would burst into tears.

When I went to get my own babies from their school on Friday, the little kindergarteners were sitting outside after their early release, waiting to be picked up from school. The sight of them gathered there, talking, laughing, being kids, started the tears for the ones who had been doing the same thing just hours earlier. When a policeman walked up beside me, saw the same kids and turned from them-tears running from his eyes, it started me up again.

I had to restrain myself from running into the school early to gather my girls and hurry home. When the release bell finally rang and the kids began pouring from the doors, I wanted to hug each familiar face-not just my own sweet ones. 

As each news update had been released, painting a more detailed picture of the day’s horror, I thought of the little ones I had just read to in my child's first grade class the week before. The same age as those taken. I thought of all of those individual sweet spirits. Each one an angel. What must they be going through in Newtown? It was unfathomable.

I have been praying since Friday. I have been questioning God, though I know it is not for me to know why. I have cried out that I don’t understand. I know to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

I know this and cling to it. But what happens when someone does not trust in the Lord with all of their heart…and their path intersects yours? And it's horrifying? What then? I know that we all have free will and I also know that God accepts me for my doubt and fear. I am human-and what happened breaks my heart

As I prayed and cried and questioned and prayed some more, I also turned off the TV, only watching the news sparingly. I turned in to my own house and family and friends and children. I made the decision to turn over the paralyzing fear and confusion to Him and it is getting better. God's Grace is good and it is healing me slowly.

We did have to have the discussion with the kids about what happened and they all took it in different ways. From a matter-of-fact shock over the terrible act, to a desire for details-an effort to grasp any reason why, to a desire to not hear any details at all again. Three kids, three responses and all took the answers in stride. A little more sober but fairly quick to bounce back.

This morning was tough. It was hard to let my three go to school although we are immensely blessed to have such amazing people caring for them. I had to direct that fear into prayers for them, the other kids, the teachers and staff. Most of all for the families affected by the tragedy. It was freeing to give it all over to God.

I managed to get ready today and make fudge and Christmas jammie pants for the girls and address the rest of our cards. I watched Christmas movies and talked to a friend. The fear, sadness, questions and confusion remain in my mind and I don’t know that they will ever go away completely. However, as I watched my girls sit on Santa’s lap and smile and joke tonight, I know that our life goes on and that kids are resilient-more than me. And I am grateful for every second we get to spend together. For that we are truly blessed.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

So beautifully said. I am anguished over this and am so grateful my kids are too young to be aware of it. But I am, and I am terrified. How are we so disconnected from each other that this can happen? And not just once, but again and again. I take what solace I can from the heroic actions of the adults at that school. God bless all of them. Merry Christmas, Emily. Miss you.

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