I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa
The world didn’t know then, the moment of your birth, what purpose your life would serve. From the moment you were born, you radiated a warm light that put a smile on the face of everyone you met. As a baby you were rocked, cuddled, and your parents swore to protect you from the evils of the world. Together you explored the landscape of life daily, with walks outside through forests, and parks. You forded streams together, squishing your toes in the muddy banks. You squealed in delight at butterflies and ladybugs, eager to always discover more.
You went to zoos and learned all the animals names, to county fairs where you ate popcorn and candied apples that always managed to make your hair sticky.
Each year you grew stronger and more sure of yourself, continuing to gather information about the world around you. Your brothers and sisters, both younger and older than you, cared for and looked out for you. They wouldn’t allow anyone to mess with you; no, that was a right reserved purely for them!
And then suddenly one day you were old enough to go to school. You were excited and nervous as you maneuvered through a whole new day, at a place that would become like a second home. You met all kinds of kids there, and made so many new friends! Life was opening up all its possibilities to you, and you began to thrive in a new way, a new direction.
There were so many teachers who loved you–would give their life for you, and you became secure and blessed in even more ways. You did art every day, learned about other people in other parts of the world, learned that numbers can be manipulated, and that letters can be made into words. You learned that your new best friend would stand up for you in a disagreement with another kid, and that they like grape popsicles too. You got to eat lunch everyday with hundreds of other kids, and you got to play just about anything you wanted to at recess. Life just couldn’t get any better.
But life has its sudden quirks of violence, and in your innocence you couldn’t have known that. That some people are unstable, angry and violent. That some people, for whatever reason, unload their unhappiness on unknowing victims. And so the clouds rolled in in a fit of thunder and lightning, and darkened the very place that was safe and secure, filling it with fear, terror and anxiety.
Some of you will have been called to God, the recess of your life abruptly ending. Where was your friend? Your teacher? Running and hiding, panic and fear, leaving a devastation felt around the world. A devastation that comes from losing a child, brother, or sister much too young, from something so senseless as a violent young man.
The world became a dark place on Friday morning, when all the light that young children bring to the world was extinguished. And the parents? The world has thought about little else since this transpired, yesterday. It is a wound that won’t ever heal. Through years of missed birthdays, driving for the first time, graduation, college, first dates, first kisses, engagements, weddings, and the opportunity to experience parenthood themselves will forever keep a place of grief in their hearts.
Today, as my husband and I discussed this, he managed to think of something that I had not even come to yet. The both of us sitting in silence, he whispered, “I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to remove all the presents from under the tree.” Only one of thousands of impossible days ahead that they face. Please remember them, these parents, and their children, as well as the staff. They face so much darkness ahead.