I wrote the following entry in my journal today in light of the feelings I've gathered throughout this terrible day, and thought it might be appropriate to share with more than just myself. :)
Today a terrible tragedy happened. A man went into a Connecticut elementary school and opened fire. There were 20 children killed, and 6-8 adults killed. My heart aches, both as a parent, and a former teacher.
We ran lockdown drills in case something like this ever happened while I was teaching. It was scary to imagine, but I never could have fathomed that an elementary school would have been the actual target of something like this. I think back on those drills and of the students I grew to love so dearly. I would have done all I could to know that my students were safe and for them to know that I loved them enough to protect them. I am reminded of how innocent children are and can't fathom how today's events will forever change that innocence.
As pictures of crying students and parents were all over the screen today, I began to ponder on the fact that I too am a parent, and I too send Zack to a public school. I began playing in my mind the actions I would have taken to get to him and hold him. My heart is BREAKING as the news castors described how each family who was not reunited with their child was guided through the school individually to identify the body of their child. To comprehend the thought of losing a child tears me a part. But to have to find my son in the midst of many other murdered children is a trial that is incomprehensible. As I think about the petty things that I stress and fuss over, I am ashamed of my weakness. I am terrified to know that I am raising my boys in a world where people take the lives of children just like my own. I hurt for the parents who lost children, and for those who will be consoling their children through this tragedy for years to come. And for the first time after hearing about incidents like this, I can honestly say I feel sorrow for the 20 year old boy who pulled the trigger.
How hard Satan must have been working on this former honor student who didn't appear to be any different than anybody else. The efforts that Satan went through to make him kill his mother, these children aged only 5-10, and then ultimately himself. What a dark and terrible place he must have been in, and how beaten down he must have felt by the darkness around him. Someone who could do something so terrible could not be in a place of light and peace. We all have trials, but who else knows the trials that this boy faced that brought him to commit the acts he did today. My heart aches for his family as they too grieve the loss of 2 family members, and struggle more than many of us do to understand WHY.
How blessed I am to have my two sweet children. Even when Max keeps me up in the night with pains of teething, and Zack continues to learn the ways of the potty, I would rock Max all night long and teach Zack 20 times a day to not poop his pants if it meant I could have them with me tomorrow to relive it again. :) (yup, I love them that much!)
Although it's even more heartbreaking that this happened just 1 week before Christmas, but in a way it is a reminder of what Christmas is all about. As those innocent children were reunited too early with our Savior today, we that are still here can use this holiday season to remember Him. Had He not been born that Christmas night, those parents may never see their kids again. He came and prepared a way that we can have our families forever, no matter how soon they leave this mortal life. I hope that those families may find peace in our Savior and celebrate his life this holiday season, as it is what grants these children and all others who have passed on to have eternal life. I hope to continue to find peace and understanding from Him in this tragedy that affected our nation today, and also in any struggles I face in my own life. This concept of eternal life IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT. Although this is a most horrific way to learn it, it can serve as a sweet reminder that our Savior is now watching over those children and staff members, and their families. And I will choose to use this tragedy as a way to love my family and my Savior more than I did yesterday.
11 hours ago