I just watched President Obama deliver a speech from Newtown, CT. I cried as he talked of our children and of parenthood. Then I cried a little bit more as he read the list of names. I imagined how it must feel to hear your child’s name listed on that list. A name that Mom and Dad may have argued over, certainly they discussed the name many times. Maybe they didn’t know if they were having a boy or a girl, thus having names for both. Then the baby is born and the name is given. Not long after, the name is repeated over and over, while taking in this new bundle of joy. Silently, and maybe even together, the parents repeat the name while looking over this precious miracle and confirm that she looks like the name she was given. And then, much later, that name is listed by the President of the United States in a prayer service honoring those who lost their lives. I can’t imagine.
She’s just a little six-year-old girl. She smiles more often than she doesn’t. She searches to make eye contact just because she has already figured out that her smile always brings a return smile. It’s a beautiful innocence. She wears skirts when her Mom will allow it because she likes to see the frills in a circle as she spins just for fun. She kisses her parents when she goes to school each morning, leaving a wet residue similar to that of a wet snowflake, but is welcomed every time. She learns quickly and remembers most everything, all with a smile as bright as a star. She is a friend to everyone because she’s been loved for every moment of her life and, in turn, she welcomes everyone. This little girl is a joy, a sweet, innocent girl, with hope in her eyes, and a look as wide as an ocean.
Then on a Friday, just 11 days before her favorite day, Christmas Day, she has her life taken from her in an instant. An eruption of pure evil has taken her life and several others. Worse even, is that so many of her classmates who survived the mayhem have seen their own innocence stripped forever by a stranger filled with uncertainty, selfishness, and evil. This school, this community, this part of the world, ripped apart and thrown into despair by a singular act of selfish cowardice.
Words are hard to come by, for everyone. The President of the United States of America comes to town and offers heartfelt words and genuine feelings shared by all parents. Then, the list. The names. Those names; each associated with a beautiful face that a mother and father loved. A face that Mom and Dad would give anything for a chance to kiss again. A name that will never be forgotten. Never. Sobs are heard. Tears stream. The lights go down and the service ends. Mom and Dad, maybe siblings as well, return home and the little girl is no longer there. That beautiful innocence is now missing, where it once showed itself in the moments that were least expected.
I pray some more. As we all should. For strength, for guidance, and for resolve to be the best we can be. I pray that this is a spark, a badly needed starting point, for America to become a God-fearing nation once again. I pray for the families in Connecticut. I thank the heroes that saved additional lives by being brave, brave beyond anything that most of us could even comprehend. I pray for a future where beautiful innocence thrives again, and lives to see the promise that comes with young life. God Bless America. And America, don’t lose sight of God, as He should once again become a part of our daily lives.