Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Nightmare of Yesterday

            Yesterday I was like most every parents across the nation -  hurriedly getting the children to school. Dealing with their excitement about a Friday so near Christmas vacation. Talking to other parents about the many things we must do to get ready for Christmas. Stressing but enjoying the hustle of a holiday coming up.
            But by the afternoon, everyone one of us were changed. The day began like any other; with certainty.  It ended in uncertainty.
We started the day trusting the world, trusting that Christmas would be like any other. The day ended with my own questioning of God and humanity. 
It was the worst shooting, they said, in our nations history. In talking to my friends, we all questioned the safety of our own community and schools. The day started with confidence but by the end of the day, we wondered if safety was just an illusion.
            As I held my children last night, it felt unfair that parents would not be able to do that because of this unspeakable act. As I went to bed, I had tremendous heart ache for a world that our children now live in. Our world was probably never completely safe but now all I could picture is the school now instituting not just fire drills and tornado drills but shooter drills as well. Even down to the age of kindergarten. Juli was so afraid of fires in kindergarten because of those fire drills. What fear would be upon Sophia if we now had the added discussion that a shooter may enter her cheerful kindergarten class?
Like most people, I went to bed after seeing so many images of panic from that horrible scene in Connecticut. Later that night, I awoke from a nightmare. I can’t explain it completely but at the center of the deep sorrow I felt was a closet. Yes, a closet.  When I awoke I was crying about the closet where I hide the Christmas presents (and other surprises) for my kids through out the year. I was crying because I thought about the closets that these parents must have. The gifts planned for their children to find under the tree this year. The smile that they expect that is so joyful at that young age when they believe in the miracles and joys of this world.
Every parent has a closet. Literally and figuratively we have a place that holds those experiences we look forward to sharing as a family; the smile that you count on seeing, the joy that you count on when they one day will score a goal, or graduate from school. The tragedy of yesterday is not just the loss of life, but the loss of a future. In my unsettling dream, this closet became meaningless as I realized it was the death not just of a person, but of a future. A future for the child and a future for the parent who had her closet robbed forever.
            As your pastor, I want to tell you that I am still rattled by the tragedy. I still cry when I read more about it. But I am also still seeking God’s comfort and peace to make sense of this massacre. I keep talking to God and asking why. I keep talking to God asking what can we do. Perhaps you are in the same place. Perhaps you have lost a child and are in a much deeper pain than I as you can relate to these parents even more.
            What I do imagine though – is that if I, an earthly flawed human parent have a closet of unknown gifts of joy for my little girls, than certainly our heavenly parent must have this also. I do not know what is behind the door. On this side of the door, there is pain, fear, distrust and sorrow. But our Heavenly Father has promised us peace on the other side. I must place my trust in Him for he has a future for each of us that cannot be robbed from us. May this keep our hearts in expectation of his peace even in the midst of turmoil and confusion.  

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