I have a knot in my gut right now. I’m still sort of constantly on the verge of tears, haunted by my imagined images of children being gunned down by a maniac with an assault weapon, not one with less than three bullet wounds…some with up to eleven—children my daughter’s age, sitting in their first-grade classrooms like my daughter is right now. Hence the knot.
No one knows what to do. We ask where God was. We blame the culture and government for sending God away. We decry guns. We defend guns. We refrain from lighting our Advent candles. We light those candles all the more intently. We dig in. We give up. And my daughter sits in her classroom.
Last night my daughter was one of the angels singing Silent Night in our church’s Christmas event. She stood, flanked by a number of other children, in her white robe and glittering wings. Under Christmas-light stars, among craft-store clouds, her wide eyes twinkled as she strained to get the words right…”what’s a ‘round yon virgin’?”
It’s hard to find answers when we don’t even know what the question is. That’s what has us grasping at everything...anything. We just want to protect our kids. And there’s a larger innocence that we want to protect. But it’s long gone. We didn’t lose it last Friday. We were just reminded that it’s gone, reminded that it’s dark outside. And it’s our flailing in the dark that has us so troubled. And no gun or government or even good intentions can overcome the dark. But we fear being swallowed. We are not as strong as we think we are. We fear.
So here I sit, knot in my gut and tears just under the surface, wanting nothing more than to cover my daughter, to cover her class and her school, to cover all the children. Let them come unto me! But there’s only so much I can do, only so much we can do, because it’s dark outside. And the darkness is beyond us—all around us, inside us, yet out of our reach. “Sleep in heavenly pe-eace…” And my daughter sits in her first-grade classroom. “Sleep in heavenly peace.”