Monday, December 17, 2012

As My Daughter Sits in Her First-Grade Classroom...

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.”


Anonymous said...

Very powerfully written. Thank you, Robert.

Unknown said...

Being in tears over this massacre, a friend sent this poem that puts things in a bit more perspective -

A poem by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

“Twas 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38

When 20 beautiful children stormed though Heavens’ gate.

Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air,

They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

They were filled with such joy, they didn’t known what to say,

They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

‘Where are we?’ asked a little girl,’ as quiet as a mouse.

‘This is Heaven,’ declared a small boy, ‘We’re spending Christmas at God’s house.’

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,

But Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.

Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

And in that moment was joy that only Heaven can bring

Those children all flew into the arms of their King.

And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace

One small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.

And as if He could read all the questions she had

He gently whispered to her, ‘I’ll take care of mom and dad.’

Then He looked down on earth, the world far below,

He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and word.

Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,

‘Let My power and presence re-enter this land!

May this country be delivered from the hands of fools,

I’m taking back my nation, I’m taking back my schools.’

Then He and the children stood up without a sound,

‘Come now my children, let me show you around’

Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,

All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,

‘In the mist of this darkness, I AM . . . STILL THE LIGHT!”

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