We wound our way through the bakery, where they both selected politically correct “Gingerbread People,” we paid, they continued arguing, and we left. They received their Gingerbread People they did not earn, along with a lecture about grace. But I did not lose my patience. I did not long to be elsewhere. Today I was painfully aware of the blessing of my children, whatever their mood, no matter their behavior, regardless of how mundane our day may be.
Once home, they snuggled on the couch while I put things away and prepared lunch. Tummies full, they settled into their beds for rest. Or at least to pretend to (I can still hear feet stomping around upstairs).
After tighter hugs and more ‘I love yous’ than usual, I could finally read the news, watch the reaction, process the horror. And since then, I have done nothing else. I braced myself against my kitchen counter and heaved sorrow too deep to be on behalf of strangers. Because this pain envelopes us all. This shame belongs to all of us. The disbelief, the unspeakable grief, the unimaginable pain and anger weigh on each of us.
I can’t look at my precious children without fear, without gratitude, and without intense anger that any person, one of God’s children, could do such a thing. And, if I’m honest, I can’t think of any of it without outrage that God would allow it. I can’t understand it; I can’t justify it, and I can’t pretend to have faith strong enough to explain it away. I can run to my Jesus, and pray in moans—without words—but it is without making any attempt to understand how or why this could happen.
I know in the coming days we will be brought together in mourning, then as quickly driven apart by politics.
Shame on us.
Let us remember these beloved children, their brokenhearted parents, and their classmates, viciously robbed of their innocence. Let us not shy away from difficult, complicated conversations, but may we handle them with grace. Let us rise above our right to opinions and being right. Let us resolve that we will do everything in our power not to let untreated mental illness or outdated gun laws or ideological divides or hatred win. Let us agree that love wins, and work diligently to figure out the details.
Because it just has to. Because this just can’t go on.