As we try, unsuccessfully, to come to grips with the evil that unfolded at an elementary school with a sign that hauntingly declares “visitors welcome,” the reality slowly pieces together, in a fashion that deflates the heart and empties the soul.
From the accounts provided by small children of bullets whizzing by to the struggles of parents of children who survived to eventually explain that their friends are gone forever to the images that show this could have happened anywhere, it now feels like it happened everywhere.
“I can’t look at my children’s faces now without seeing the faces of every one of their schoolmates, and all of their friends and everything they’re doing right now or saying or they’re talking about Christmas, I’m just thinking their friends should all be here,” a mother of two children who emerged from the school unharmed told CNN this morning.
Throughout the country, anyone with children in their lives will have similar feelings. While we have experienced enough of these tragedies in recent years to no longer be shocked by the news of a shooting in a public place, never before have the smallest and most innocent been the victims.
My own son has now aged far past the point that I can look at him and see the faces of those children who should still be with us, but instead I witness in him the fact that those little ones will never have the chance to grow and learn and laugh and live.
Our prayers extend to and remain with the children who were taken, the children who survived, and all families in a community that never will be the same.
We will continue to do what we do, if for no reason than to help provide a diversion for those who need to take a short break from thinking about things that are inherently unthinkable. But we hope that everyone spends the bulk of their time in the next few days reflecting on what happened in Newtown, praying for the victims and survivors, and collectively resolving to find ways to keep these things from ever happening again.