I can’t help myself, and I really don’t want to, if it means that I should stop thinking about the kids, the parents, the school faculty, the first responders, the families, and the community surrounding the tragedy in Newtown, CT. Newtown. Hmmm, maybe we all need a new town, as in a new outlook on our world around us.
We live in our little cocoons, sheltered from the things we don’t allow in. Conveniences abound and waiting is only a choice, not a requirement. We communicate as needed, if that much, and life leads us along.
New town. New outlook.
Love. Live. Stand. Share.
Welcome. Embrace. Listen. Learn.
Pray. Bow. Receive. Visit.
Read. Memorize. Recite. Lead.
Help. Give. Teach. Understand. Ask.
Repeat day after day, week after week, and so on. Then let’s see where we are. Where did we lose our way? Don’t bother trying to find out when, where, or even who is to blame, but rather, make the change yourself. Live the In God We Trust, Greatest Nation in the World, Indivisible Under God world that we all clamor for when tragedy strikes. Be the world we all want.
So, I posted this picture of my twins, Theodore and Jacqueline, because I see beautiful innocence. And to me, another’s innocence isn’t ours to take, alter, or render negligible. We have enough of an effect on others without even trying to, so I think, I, we, should change the way we think and move forward. We want a beautiful world yet we don’t always do something about it. We have the power to do so, just as generations before us did.
Beautiful: handsome – lovely – pretty – fine – fair – nice
Innocence: purity – naivety – simplicity – guiltlessness
Beautiful innocence. I can’t get too far past these words for the last few days. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Innocence, like a creature on the endangered list, once it’s gone it’s gone. We come together to protect animals, our atmosphere, historical places, and environmental necessities. Rightfully so. I mean, God created animals, the earth, and human beings. To me that means we are no more deserving of this place than the creatures, and this place itself. Yet, we come together to demand things, picket those opposed, start movements, start companies, and raise funds for these things. So I ask the following question.
Who is taking a stand to protect the innocence? We protect all kinds of things. The highway clover leaf encircles a protected wetland. Good. But who is teaching the parents, or holding us accountable to be less careless in protecting our future’s innocence? I am guilty too. We smoke. We curse. We drink. We gossip. We share things inappropriately. We give access where access has not been earned, nor prepared for. We exclude God. We move fast because we can, leaving the why’s and the how’s for someone else completely unqualified to teach our kids. We wonder why the world has gone to hell in a hand basket, but we don’t instill God’s truths and His Book in nearly anything we do. And when it all goes wrong we question God in every way we deem convenient.
We are equal. We are not above one another. We can work together. We can pray together. We can worship together. We can teach, live, and lead by example together. God shared the following from the Book of Matthew: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 KJV)
We have the know how. We have the instructions. We even have historical lessons, maybe even within our own families. We have the reasons, or the incentive. We have free will. But will we protect the innocence by improving the people and places where innocence is found?
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.
I sit here at my keyboard tonight, trying to procure rationale from the chaotic swarm of thoughts swirling in my head; In doing so, I try to separate the thoughts of anger that bubble up in my attempts to understand the how and the why events like this can happen. Somewhere over time, I have tried to be better at facing the things that bind my mind and twist my intellectual limits to the maximum, and just think on them, inside and out, backward and forward. And sometimes I win, and peaceful rest finds my cranial capacity for a time, and another battle is won at least for that night. Sometimes I write and let the words go where they take me, hoping that the vastness of constant thought presents itself in a manner that is legible, understandable, and worthwhile. Lest I waste more time not getting my thoughts out in the form of words strung together, I move forward, not sure of what will show up on this screen next.
I think of any smooth-faced five-year old boy who shows up at his school not because it was his plan or thought, but because that’s how his parents have explained to him that his days must be spent, for now. Nevertheless, he shows up, smiling, trusting, and innocent; looking forward to the days’ promise as explained yesterday by, some larger than life figure, known as his teacher. He believes all will be well because each day he’s left at this place with a kiss and a promise. And the beauty of his human spirit, instilled in each of us, develops a little bit more every single day, and his innocence is both beautiful and sought after. For innocence is purity, debased not, and nothing is more beautiful. Sought after, only because the beauty of purity is tarnished for all time once it has been contaminated or otherwise compromised. And knowing these things the boy’s well being is entrusted in this place day after day in hopes of his safety certainly, and the maintenance of his fragile, lovely innocence. He doesn’t know he carries this innocence, he just knows he is, and in being him, he smiles, he loves, he feels, and he learns. He openly displays his lack of fear as he knows no difference, and his purity glows about him as adults watch in the blur of warm fuzziness while recalling their own youth and wishing for that pure innocence once again.
Then one day, it was today maybe, that innocence was stripped away. And worse yet, the little boy with no fear learned to fear in an instant. Maybe he had seconds to process the feeling, this new thing that he wasn’t familiar with, this feeling that his parents hoped would only come in appropriate doses, as needed, but maybe never be completely developed. And this precious little face, where nuzzling, hugs, and kisses were never far away, fell silently, forever to sleep. This little boy’s life was taken away. The boy who, now would be denied, the chance to learn why the adults looked at him with silent smiles and sparkling eyes, all because of a random act of selfish cowardice. The boy rests next to Our Lord tonight.
Here on Earth, we have more questions than we have answers. Investigations will uncover all that they can in order to explain the things that can be explained. All I can surmise is this: The act is one of selfish cowardice.
Selfish: devoted to or caring only for ones self; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
Cowardice: lack of courage in facing danger, pain, or difficulty
Perhaps my words are an understatement, perhaps they sum it up. I know it’s not that simple, but it also may not be that complicated either. A young man, who may have started his life, not much different from the five-year old I have described above, was the reason that innocence was plucked from its beautiful place, and life was taken. I will not dwell on the reason, cause, or my interpretation of the dark, ugliness presented in human form in Connecticut today, as his choice to live life as he did today, renders him as completely insignificant in my book. Any and all attention devoted to this evil act should be replaced instead with thoughtful prayer, loving communication, and the spiritual commitment necessary in taking the road to heaven, and all its promise. Heaven welcomed several children today, sent along their way by the evil that is capable of dwelling within us if we so allow it, and those children; who are loved, cherished, adored, deeply missed, and mourned, will also be waiting in all of their glory for any and all of us who join Our Lord one day in heaven.
I wasn’t sure how to start this, and I am less certain on how to end it. I have cried many, many tears over the hours I have taken to untangle the mess in my mind. I will hug my children tighter, kiss them a little bit longer, and notice them in their beauty a little more alertly, like many parents around the world. I will again cry as I try to place myself, mentally, into the shoes of parents and survivors from the horrific scene in Connecticut today. As my parents have taught me, and as my family, far and wide, have reminded me, when the questions come faster than the answers, and relent is nowhere near, just pray. Pray.
Dear Lord I come now to you in prayer. I pray for the strength, wisdom, and direction to be a positive difference in every way I can, in hopes that many, maybe thousands, or even millions, will stomp out evil where we can by being the difference in someone’s life. As I have written many times before, it’s important to remember that we don’t know when we are being the example that other’s need to get through this battle or another, so it’s better to be the example as a matter of the way we live our lives. Lord, I pray that I will never be the example of human nature that let someone clinging to one last hope, fall, stumble or fail. Lord, I realize this may be a massive responsibility, but I believe that we, all of us, need more examples of responsibility in the hopes of making differences all around us. Amen.
I honestly cannot share effectively through these typed words how emotional it has been to write these thoughts out. I sob, in tears, thinking of our future, these children, who have been slain, especially in the places where we have been taught to feel safe and nurtured. I sincerely hope this hasn’t been too much for anyone to read through. Many of the images and thought patterns I have tried to compose here, have been gnawing at me since I first heard of this tragedy earlier this afternoon. I feel sickened by the evil that manifested itself today, and my emotional response is sincere and is as thoughtful as I know how to be. I observe. I think. I write. And tonight I cry, and I pray for all of those folks affected by the tragic events in Connecticut today. But mostly I cannot free myself from the thoughts shaping the pictures in my mind’s eye of that most beautiful innocence and its unauthorized loss.