I know many of you will read that title and wonder if I’m crazy – wondering just how life can ever be “normal” again. In many ways, even in other communities across these United States, life won’t ever be the same. However, there has to be moving forward. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. Moving forward doesn’t mean not acknowledging a tragedy many would rather not even think about. Moving on doesn’t even mean that we continue on with life as if this never happens. Instead, moving on means trying to keep the pain and emotions present while working to remain resolved to make a difference in how America remains vigilant and does all we can – as a nation, and as individuals – to ensure our safety.
Truth be told, my heart continues to break with the community of Newtown, Connecticut. As I continue to follow different news reports, see stories / victim accounts, and even coverage of the funerals, the tears come, and my heart breaks. I find this tragedy one hard to read or talk about, and tears inevitably show up. The thing that gets to me isn’t just the accounts of the shooting itself, but of the love. The love of those teachers, staff and the principal who put their lives on the line – some even making that ultimate sacrifice for “their” children. Clearly, they love the children they were charged with each day. In spite of clearly imminent danger of death, they still acted on benefit of the children. Every time I read a synopsis of the events, I just imagine what it must have been like. Those teachers acted on instinct and training. They knew how to handle the situation to the best of their ability, and they did not hesitate. As such, many more lives were spared. From the janitor running through the halls with warnings, to the teachers protecting their children to the staff / principal who went beyond their call to duty, I am grateful.
The tragedy showed an evil side of humanity. It showed a broken person, with much anger. None of us have any idea the personal demons he was struggling with. I honestly don’t even want to think about it. There’s one side of me that wishes we could just know why. But, truth be told, I don’t think there is a plausible why here.
On the opposite side of the coin, the tragedy didn’t ONLY show the evil side of humanity. It also renewed faith in humanity at the same time. I’m not a teacher, and I never have been. I am grateful to have never been put in the position the heroes of that day were put in. However, if I ever was, I pray I’d react the same way. In the face of danger, I hope I’d react with courage, and would keep others safe in the midst of an unfolding tragedy.
No matter which side of the scenario you find yourself focusing on – the evil that exists in the world, or faith that humankind is full of good as well, I urge you to take a step back and just know that it’s okay to not be okay with this. No one should be okay. It’s okay to also move forward. Again, moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. It means remembering that it happened, not letting evil win, and moving forward with hope for brighter days ahead.
One final thought – please continue to pray for the community in and around Newtown, Connecticut as they begin picking up the pieces and moving forward. As hard as it seems, I urge you to continue lifting up prayers on behalf of the shooter’s family. I cannot imagine their heartbreak – at losing a brother, son, relative, grandson, etc., but also living knowing what he did just prior to losing him. Continue, also, to pray for the hearts and minds of people all across the nation (and even the world) — that God’s hand of healing continues to bring peace and strength in places currently hurting – even broken. May God gather up all the pieces and put them back together in ways that only He can.