There are no words – most certainly there’s no understandable logic related to the death of the innocent – especially the death of children. Events this past year have drawn many into personal heartbreak – some, like the event in Newtown Connecticut, are positioned beyond human understanding. In many a conversation since that horrific day there is one question which standouts out from the many: “Why did this happen?” This was indeed a moment of tragedy, a moment of heartbreak which will be repeated without a see able end. And once again, if you care enough to listen – you can hear the sobbing of one and History.
We live now, as we have for tens-of-thousands of years – in the embrace of war, poverty, anger, and perhaps the saddest of all – the unfulfilled quest to embrace the majestic gift of children. The tragedy in Newtown touches many to the core, challenges most to see the great gift in their children, sadly many will shrug this off as simply the unpreventable act of another “sick” person. Perhaps what moved us most was the age of those sacrificed, not just children – they were only years out from infancy. The intense grief might be tied to the “season” which surrounds the heartbreak of their death – Christmas, for Chris and I it was the unimaginable loss of a child.
It has been less than a week since the birth of our new grandson Liam – and over 40 years since the birth of our first little girl Emma. Every child and grandchild should outlive their parents and grandparents – generational survival should be a law of nature. That law of nature will be realized only when human life is based on these three foundations: hope, faith and love. There are simply not enough of us who treasure children, not enough of us that look beyond self for the central theme of all life – and Jesus said in response to how do we serve you - “What you do to the least of your brothers and sisters you do to me.” That – even within the heart of Christianity, seems loss to the embrace of self-interest, power and wealth.
Watching the post-event news coverage there were many interviews and attempts of giving explanation for this unthinkable moment of tragedy. Most powerful has been the expression of the parents of children-lost who whisper in the depth of agony – “she is a gift, always smiling, always loving – we will miss her.” There are many, at times like this, that fallback on their faith – but deeply in error is this statement – “God has a reason for all things”. That statement places the death of these children (and let’s not forget the wonderful teachers who sacrificed their lives in an attempt to save them) as predestined by One. One whispers “never, never” – but that is how humanity survives most of human-centered moments of tragedy like the death of children.
There is a need for humanity to come to a stop – pause and ponder the majestic gift of children. We can ban guns, check for personality disorders “hinting” at such events, but there is this – it will require humanity to treasure children more than power, more than wealth and more than self-centered success. We have to step away, perhaps only for the moment, from religions, politics, and power – take a deep-breath and say – never again. Christmas – was not the most precious gift of this season the “birth of a child”? Tonight - take them into your arms and whisper – “I love you”.