|(photo by Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters)|
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. (Matt 2:16)
I cannot wrap my mind around the tragedy in Connecticut. My first thoughts fall to my son (a teacher in Philadelphia) and my sister (a Principal in Neptune, NJ) and how blessed I am that this incident did not take place in THEIR school. My second though falls to my family and friends, whose children and grandchildren enter schools just like Sandy Hook Elementary EVERY day and how blessed I am that this incident did not take place in THEIR school. My third though is one of prayer - for those families affected by this tragedy. Count your blessings tonight and pray for comfort and strength to those families whose lives have been changed FOREVER, while remembering that NOTHING comes to us that has not passed through the Father's hands first.
I know that some of you are thinking, "How cold! How could she even think that?" I talk all the time about "God's Plan". We know those simple little truths...rain nourishes those flowers that look so beautiful, and other such phrases. No, God is not punishing anyone - he is a loving God with a design so intricate that we could not even begin to fathom the beauty and wonder of each and every detail he has set in motion. Sometimes it takes loss to appreciate what you have. Sometimes it takes pain to appreciate relief from it. Some times it takes death (more specifically untimely and sudden) to appreciate life. I know I have shared with you that some years ago, a dear friend of mine lost and infant daughter and could not understand what possible "good" could come from that. In that moment, her loss reminded me that I had four children whom I loved very much and had begun to take for granted. Never again would I ever feel or think that way because I realized that we do not control the destiny of our loved ones any more than we can control the rising and setting of the sun.
When incidents like this occur, our focus falls on bumping up the gun control laws. No, I will not use my post as a forum for my thoughts on that subject. What many fail to do is to focus on the reason behind the massacre. What is missing from the individual who turns a gun on a room full of unsuspecting 4th graders? What "signs" did those close to that individual miss? What causes a man to "snap"? Our apathy toward mental illness seems to be that its someone else’s problem. May I remind us that after the first murder, the defendant asked the question "am I my brother's keeper?" The answer is found in the question.
What we can do is pray. We can become more aware of our own surroundings. We can take the focus off of our own wants and needs and really see those family members around us. Remember, those who kill in that manner are also someone's child, someone's family member, someone's friend. They, too, are God's children. They, too, have the same opportunity for salvation that we have.
We can love our children, love our family member and really live each day as if there were no tomorrow. Hug them, listen to them, tell them you love them and when God chooses to take one of them home, remember - whether you can believe it or not (because sometimes it very difficult to believe - He loves them MORE!