My brain just won’t let go. What if that was my child? I keep imagining what it would be like. To get a text. To see a local news show and know: My kid. My kid’s school. My neighbor’s kid. My friend’s kids school….I feel the nauseas knot of terror form instantaneously. I think of the trauma of the children in nearby classes. The children. The parents. The teachers. The janitors. The first responders and people who will clean up the school. I think of the families. The cousins, the aunts, the grandparents. The presents under Christmas trees that will remain unwrapped. I think of the pillows that will stay cold tonight- not warmed by the cheek of a child. I know it’s stupid. I’m obsessing. But my brain thinks the thoughts anyway.

Questions crash in my head like the waves of a tsunami: “Why would anyone do such a thing? How could anyone look at an innocent child and do that? What would make someone do such a thing? Who could cause such heartbreak? “ Darker questions seep into my head like a backed up drain… questions that make me feel guilty– and human: “Why would God allow such a thing? Where was God when this happened? Why didn’t God stop this? How could God allow such a thing?” 

I don’t have answers. Just. Questions. I did pray. I prayed anguished prayers- I railed at God. I whispered prayers begging for mercy and protection and comfort for all those involved. I prayed fervent prayers for my kids. For yours. I prayed for the shooter. His family. What if that was my child? I prayed more. I cried.

The truth is- there is no answer that will make sense of this pain and tragedy. I don’t really want answers. I want: control. I want  the answers, so I can make sure this doesn’t happen here. So I can keep my kids safe. My neighbor’s kids. Your kids.

However-  every time something like this happens- people ask the same questions….  the answers sometimes [eventually] come out… But- they don’t protect. They don’t stop the next tragedy.

Last weeks answers didn’t stop today’s tragedies. Columbine’s didn’t stop Virginia Tech’s. Virginia Tech’s didn’t stop the Theater shooting- or Mall shooting…

Which means….Questions and control won’t fix this.

Which makes me angry. At the shooter. At the world that does things like this. At violence in the media. At news reports that exploit tragedy. At people who politicize tragedy.

In an instant- the hurt and grief and terror of today turned into… hatred. Which- I suspect is the root of this kind of evil. Which scared me. because… if hate causes this kind of evil- and I feel hate… I don’t even want to finish the thought.

Which is when I realized- Maybe- I do have control. Not over shooters or situations or circumstances…

But- over me. Over my choices.

So do you.

Today- as I grieve and empathize-with parents all over the world- I also choose: to love. I refuse to hate. I choose to love my kids. I choose to remember that hate breeds evil. I choose to love those I come into contact with. I choose to love the stranger and the strange. I choose to love and trust God even though I don’t understand Him. Especially today. When I have questions and want control.

Tonight- as I tuck my youngest into bed and feel the warmth of his cheek- I pray for those who can’t tuck their child in. I pray for those with questions like mine. I pray for those with pain and hate… mine. Like the shooter’s.  I pray for Grace and love to cover it all.

Maybe- if we all did…. if we all found love to share- and refused to hate- the world would be a different place.

I’ll be honest-and my response today proves it-  I don’t have enough love in me. I am quick to anger. I am quick to judge. I need help.

So I’m asking for that- instead of answers.

Dear Lord Jesus- My heart breaks for the loss and tragedy that happened in Connecticut, today. I pray that you will be close to those who mourn. I pray that you will heal hearts and minds of the trauma. I pray that you would fill us with your love- and that it would overflow and stamp out the hate that creates so much evil in the world. I pray that you would be close. I love you Lord- even here- when I don’t understand. Amen

I gathered some resources to help us all with our questions and the questions of our kids.

Talking to our kids

PBS on Talking to kids

Focus on the Family 

And A Christmas Prayer we can all pray- about today….By Max Lucado—-

Talk, pray, grieve. consider. Then: love. it’s the best we can do.