This blog is supposed to be about books I want to share with other people. I didn’t want a forum for what’s wrong in literature or the world. I don’t want a site of accusations and blame. But as a parent, as a past teacher of first graders, as a colleague of teachers, and as a human being, I can’t ignore the sorrow of Newtown.
As countless people have already said, Sandy Hook is every parents’ worst nightmare. We all ache for the overwhelming loss for the families and friends of the victims. We can share in carrying their grief, but cannot take it away. (Grief, even when all-encompassing, has helped me feel connected and reminded of love’s depth.)
As many people have already said, we need to remember the victims rather than allow sick minds to feel they have found an avenue for a distorted sort of fame. In the cycle of the liturgical Christian church, tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 28 is the day to remember the Holy Innocents, who were slaughtered by Herod. We don’t know the names of those long-ago victims, but we can remember the names and lives of these innocents:
Charlotte, age 6; Daniel, 7; Olivia, 6; Josephine, 7; Ana, 6; Dylan, 6; Madeline, 6; Catherine, 6; Chase, 7; Jesse, 6; James, 6; Grace, 7; Emilie, 6; Jack, 6; Noah, 6; Caroline, 6; Jessica, 6; Avielle, 6; Benjamin, 6; Allison, 6; Rachel, 29, Dawn, 47; Anne Marie, 52; Lauren, 30; Mary, 56; and Victoria, 27.
My friend Ellen tells me that we will have more in our life of what we are thankful for. To those of you who knew any of the victims, I am so sorry for the suffering you are now experiencing. I am also grateful for the joy and love these children and adults brought to the lives of those that now mourn. Reading about the individuals shows shows some of the harmonies they add to the music of the spheres.
In a sermon the Sunday after the shooting, the Rev. Allison Thomas didn’t propose specific solutions to the problems of violence in our society—something we can put on a ballot is necessary, but perhaps doesn’t go deep enough. She asked us two questions.
How can I bring the peace of God to the world? How can I make unconditional love incarnate? Whether or not you frame these questions within a religious context, I think it’s important for us to engage these issues on a deep enough level to heal from the depth of the wound rather than find closure in a scab.
My short term solutions are to remember the victims; to everyday thank someone for what they’ve added to my life—especially trying to remember the people who are not often thanked; and to follow the example of those people who engage in random acts of kindness and beauty. And I’ve made buttons to wear when I’m out and about.
Talk to others. How can we help make the world we want for everyone’s children? I’d love to hear how you honor the innocents.
MAY YOUR NEW YEAR BE FILLED WITH COMFORT AND PEACE.