“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela
originally published December 14, 2012
I had already prepared a little light-hearted bit of fluff for my blog featuring a cute, happy, smiling, clapping toddler but coming home from dropping my two youngest children off to school for the day to sad news…horrible news…WTF kind of news I just could not publish it. Not today.
Catherine‘s sweet nephew, Tanner, is no longer able to breathe on his own. Yes Tanner of Tutus for Tanner fame. It just doesn’t seem fair.
Then I turned on the news and…
We could discuss mental illness and guns and Second Amendment rights and what not and my bleeding heart would likely explode. But it doesn’t change the fact that twenty boys and girls…FIRST GRADERS kissed their mommies and daddies goodbye for the day and skipped off into their classrooms for a day at school…where they should be safe. Instead they laid bloodied and shot alongside teachers and a principal who tried to protect them from such evil, dark insanity.
Such darkness there just did not seem to allow room for light-hearted fluff. How could anyone see it in such darkness?
I could not.
So instead I followed the news of the events unfolding and watched the President choke back tears as he remembered beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old and he called us all to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
I went for a 4 mile run hoping to make sense of today’s sadness because I do some of my best thinking when I am running. Unfortunately answers did not come. But the tears did.
I held my breath when I learned that dear Victoria was waiting to hear from family of the whereabouts of her 6 year old nephew, a student at Sandy Hook Elementary. Then I cried bitter, sad tears later when I learned that her nephew, Noah, was one of the victims of today.
Where is the light today?
I waited at Daniel’s school during the afternoon pickup weeping…weeping for Tanner, for Noah and for so much loss today. Then the bell rang and the boys and girls came rushing out of the gate. For them it was the joy of school being out and, hurray, it is the weekend. For the parents waiting it was the joy of being able to hold their babies, hug them and kiss them. There was so much hugging. Again the tears began to roll down my face. Daniel approached the car and I wrapped him into my arms and held on for as long as I could.
“Mom, why are you hugging me so long?”, he asked.
Choking back tears I reply, “Because it has been a very sad day.”
“Well then I need to hug you more, Mom!”, and he did.
And then there was a tiny spark of light in that beautiful boy’s face and his warm hug. Still it was bittersweet as I thought of families today who did not get to hug their children and won’t be any more like I was hugging mine.
We all find ourselves in this cold, dense darkness and we all are desperate for light, any light because even the smallest of light can overpower the darkest of darkness. Those of us with our families near cling to the light that shines from them; and yes, the darkness will be scattered in the brightness of their light, no matter how tiny it might be.
We are blessed people…don’t ever doubt that.
But tonight, while you hug your children, pray for Tanner’s family, pray for Noah’s family, pray for the families of Sandy Hook.
Tomorrow we must take action. We must. The light we are fortunate enough to possess can only chase away this darkness if we stand up with it and move forward. We must. For the children…for our children. Our children deserve the right to feel safe in movie theaters, in shopping centers, in places of worship, in malls and at school and not fear being gunned down.