It's a dreary day here - the sky is gray, and it's a little chilly. It's just dark enough outside to justify turning on the lights on the Christmas tree. I've spent the day doing volunteer work, and soon I'll head to the high school to get my two teenagers. In another time, this would be a boring start to a blog, but the idea of school and children has a resonance now after last Friday.
We spent the weekend with family in Tennessee. It was arranged well in advance of the horror of Friday. Our weekend meant we spent hours upon hours in the car together - Mom, Dad, two teenage sons. And it was rare that my thoughts did not turn towards Connecticut. We discussed music, and I thought of how blessed I was to have my children safely with me. And later we talked about movies, and I would think how blessed I was to have my children with me. And later yet when we talked about football, I would think how blessed I was to have my children with me. Each time a prayer would head to heaven for the families who have lost their little ones, and for the families who have lost their loved ones - the teachers and administrators who were true heroines that day. But my thoughts also turned towards the gunman and his family. And I said a prayer for him and his family also.
When my oldest son was six, he wanted to be a fireman. When my younger son was six, he wanted to be a soldier. At sixteen, my oldest son is learning Chinese, and has found Accounting to be an easy course. He's interested in how he could combine learning both. At fourteen, my younger son is still deciding, and anyone who has been a teenager knows they both could change their minds a dozen times before settling into a career. Each child that was lost was a loss to each of us. Their potential gone before it could happen.
The word evil is used so much when these horrors happen. Certainly what happened is an illustration of an evil act. Nothing can justify such an act. But my heart breaks as a mother for all who were lost, and that does include the gunman. Raising a child to be an upstanding person is simply the hardest act I've ever attempted. Sometimes a child is born broken. If you have not read this article by a mother of a broken child, please do - "I am Adam Lanza's Mother" . We do not know the circumstances, and nothing can justify the act, but my heart cries out also for someone who at 20 somehow thought this was something to do. Why may not ever be answered. I do know that there is never a simple easy answer. Mental illness needs to be a part of the conversation. But simply throwing out a diagnosis such as autism is using too broad a brush - a brush which paints those who don't deserve it.
All I can offer is prayer - for each of the victims, their families, for the first responders, for the gunman, and his family, and each person affected by the horror. May God bless and provide healing.