I've tried to write this week. Tried to write a note to my son, maybe even explain why my heart is full of sadness. Tried to go on, marking that this is our 13th month of waiting. Tried to explain the activities of my week. But every time I type, like so many others, I'm paralyzed. I think it might be impossible to write and make things sound like a normal week when I know that people will be burying their small children this week. And then I remember heartbroken mamas bury their children every. single. week. And I can't find anything to fill the screen.
I am blessed that, in the midst of tears that seem to come from nowhere at a pretty regular rate, God has given me so many times to laugh this week. He knew I needed respite, like so many of us do. Because last Friday, when I heard that kiddos not to much older than the ones I hug every Sunday as they brightly smile and say, "Hi Miss Jess," were senselessly killed, my heart broke in a new way. A way I didn't know possible. It might not ever come back together.
Sunday our small group met and, as usually happens, we laughed til I thought we could laugh no more. Of course, we also shared truth. And I think those things have to go together. And I noticed somehow, no one brought up Sandy Hook. I don't think we could muster it. It hurt too much. People on the other side of the country weren't laughing at their little one who was making funny little quips when she should be in bed. They were picking out pictures for her memorial. Senseless.
And Monday, I gathered to watch Ashley and J.P.'s wedding with some lovely friends. And we joked about bad hair and silly camera shots and all the things girls talk about when they watch reality TV. And we ate sugar cookies and enjoyed each other. And somehow it didn't come up. I had spent all day evading the heartbreak that was everywhere. The news, The Voice, Katie (yes, Katie Couric has her own TV show. Who knew?) ? All brought me to my knees in heaving sobs. So a wedding was in order. And it was good.
But Tuesday, as I walked down the hallways where I work, looking at the glass doors that separate my kids from the rest of the church, I couldn't think of anything but. How would I protect my kids? Could this happen? Where would we go? How would I shield them? I shared this with one of my coworkers and her answer was: you don't. You hold your children, and all children, palms up, open fisted to the world. You pray and you give them to God, knowing he doesn't spare us of any good thing. Including heartbreak.
I should finish Tuesday by saying a good friend came in from Seattle and we had another girls' night where you say things you dare not say in the company of men. And me, the only childless one, listening wide-eyed, laughing and gasping. We shared about kids and childbirth, husbands and family. We had such a good evening. And then, in the quiet when there were only three of us left, I let my guard down and for the first time in front of people this week, I wept uncontrollably, sharing the hurt we collectively share as a nation. And my friends held me. And we loved.
I guess I'm writing this in one way, just to write it. I won't be able to move on and share the joys until I mourn the innocence of days. I probably won't walk down our hallway again without thinking of the babes in my care, each and every week. Or maybe I will. I actually don't know which is worse.
But here's what I know. My God is faithful. I am not mad at him. I am heartbroken for the evil of the world but I'm not mad at my God. In fact, in this advent season, I'm reminded even more clearly that he dwelled with us, amidst our pain, because he loved, and loves, us. And so, I'm memorizing this verse instead:
John 16:33 "I have said these things to you, that you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world."
The best I've heard this expressed can be found right here.
I am excited to write about fun, beautiful things later this week. But thank you for giving me a space for catharsis. I pray the Lord also heals and breaks and heals your heart, making you different each time, as he is doing to mine.