It's been 24 hours since I learned about yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut. Given 24 years, I don't think I would still be able to find my words to register my true feelings about what happened. It's been 11 since September 11th, and I still don't have any for that either.
Grief is a funny and terrible thing. It stalks you, hanging around just until you think it's gone, and then it rears its head once more. Now, our country grieves again. When I think of our nation's most mournful times, I see incredible things. Heroes emerge. Kindness appears. Strangers connect. And in those moments, the impossible seems possible, and change can happen.
Yet so often, it doesn't. Or at least it doesn't happen quickly.
All over my social media, there are shouts and rumblings. And blame. There's always blame. Fingers point at the other side, and arguments occur. Gun control. Second Amendment. Republicans. Democrats. Right-wing. Left-wing. The absence of God. God's will. Your fault. The President's fault. The shooter's fault. His parents' fault.
Let's get real, people. It's our fault. And it will continue to be our fault as long as we, as a nation, refuse to meet in the middle. It will continue until we all stop needing to be so right that we are all wrong.
But I don't know how to change a whole nation. If I did, believe me, I'd tell you. The trouble is, I don't know if anyone would listen.
I do know this, however. God is in our schools. You can't take God out of a school anymore than you can take him out of your home or your heart. He is in my basketball team as they pray for the health of a fellow teacher's mom -- our #1 fan. He is in my students as they refuse to break Fast for even the thrill of a Snicker's bar won on a correct answer. He is in my moment of silence each morning as I pray for the health and safety of those I hold most dear. He is in the mouth of the child who told me, "I'd never let anyone hurt you, Miss Naz."
I get it though. It's easy enough to blame the absence of God when tragedy strikes because how could God let it happen? But tragedy is a continual undercurrent of our entire history. The atrocities that one human can inflict on another are a daily, moment-by-moment occurrence. And I don't always know where He is. Admittedly, He and I have always engaged in a cosmic version of Hide-and-Seek. My only hope is that He's with those who have been left behind, giving them the strength to survive now and live later. Those are two completely different things, you know. Surviving and living.
I also know that the answer to school violence isn't by putting a gun in my hands or in my classroom, as a few have advocated. To be honest, I can barely find my own keys most days. I'm not sure I'm cut out for the vigilante lifestyle.
The only answer I have is to love one another. Listen when someone needs help. Ask for help when you need it. Let go of your platform and have a conversation. Seek out beauty, and, where there is none, leave some.
And, maybe, just this once, we use our hands to help or to pray or to hold... but not to point.