Found on Facebook this morning. So eloquently said.
There are Christmas gifts bought and wrapped with care. They’re hidden in closets, under beds, at parents’ houses and kept carefully out of sight. They were bought in answer to scribbled notes from small hands that wished for a new bike or a new game system or a movie. They were whispered to chubby Santa’s who laughed and told them if they were good they would certainly receive their gifts. They counted the days with bright eyes and hopes to be out of school and running wild for the pure enjoyment of the season. Plaintive questions on how soon was Christmas, mouths stuffed with holiday cookies and fingers sticky with sugar. There are houses with stockings hung out or waiting to be hung, to be filled with gifts and treats on that glorious Christmas morning beneath trees with ornaments hung askew by eager hands helping to make it pretty.
It makes me recall A Christmas Carol and the ghost of Christmas present. Who looks to the future after Tiny Tim with an anxious Ebenezer Scrooge looking on: “I see a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the future, the child will die.” That moment in the movie where Scrooge’s heart is filled with worry and fear for the future of a child he does not know. A child he yearns to have live with all his heart. I remember my eyes filling with tears when Scrooge sees the future as a dark hollow thing where the sorrow weighs upon a family so filled with joy now torn apart.
There was no gentle ghost to predict the future, no parent who sent their child to school who knew what the future held and no way to know what would happen. In the span of a heart beat the world changed and like the ghost of Christmas Present, we see a future and a present that has echoed through the world. A world where Christmas gifts with no owners are tucked away with love, stockings are empty that will remain unfilled, and homes that are suddenly empty. There is the knowledge that carefully written letters to Santa and whispered hopes for gifts are gone and all that remains is a question spoken with all the grief and heart ache that a nation, a world can cry out. “WHY?!” It is a question that some speak quietly and others speak angrily, demanding an answer, demanding an understanding and an accounting.
There is no answer to that question. There is only a moment of all consuming horror, grief and numbness at seeing lives lost. There is only the knowledge that there are holes in the lives of so many families. There are those who cling to their children and hold them close, afraid to let go, afraid to look away for fear their child will disappear. There are others that don’t have enough tears in the world to shed to hold their grief. All I can say, is my heart goes out to them. We all hold a small touch of their grief and carry it with us. Parents hold their children, they shed tears, those without children try to imagine the pain that is being felt tonight and try to hold back their own grief. And through it all, through every report of pain and loss, there is a moment of awe as the stories of heroics come to light.
Those amazing people that stood with the strength of a lion to hold a door against a shooter, children who acted beyond their age and tried to save their classmates, teachers that went above and beyond the call of duty. The words of comfort and love they shared with their students when they feared the worst. They are gifts that we are given to cherish, to remember the good in the world and treasure it. To treasure our loved ones and children.
To our lost ones… May you sleep in heavenly peace.