Just when it seems like society can’t throw you a curve worse than the last senseless tragedy, something inexplicable happens to show how wrong you can be. I was born after the Second World War so all of the horrors I write about in my stories are nothing more than what I imagine they would be. Burning ships that are trying to survive a kamikaze attack, cities on fire form unseen bombers, torpedoes slicing through the dark night to crush the hulls of a barely seen enemy are all just words on a page.
What could be more innocent though than to be in a first grade classroom at 9:00 in the morning a few weeks before Christmas. The hand made decorations are hung around the room and staying focused on the alphabet and numbers teacher shares has to be hard. Lunch seems so far away and fidgeting doesn’t make the class go any faster. I wasn’t a very good student. I am sure my first grade teacher was sorely tested every single day.
Adults are supposed to protect us. Our little lives are precious and we haven’t even felt the first taste of all the joy and sadness the world has to offer. At six years old, our bones are brittle and even the smallest fall results in one of those plaster casts that we spend the next six weeks hating. All the names in the world don’t quell the scratching and if we are unlucky enough to have it happen in summer, it really itches.
But casts come off. Feelings heal. Patience is learned.After close to six decades on this rolling blue ball I can honestly say I have had a fantastic ride through it all. Nearly 232 changes of seasons and visits to over 650 cities and towns around the world. Wonderful friendships that have been packaged neatly between loves and loves lost. Like many, I have experienced the pain of disappointing someone close to me and the indescribable joy of overcoming that failure.
Life is precious. It rewards us with hugs after a really crappy time in our life. Seeing a smile from someone close after you sing in a church choir that says how proud they are of you. Sharing tears over a short term failure only to see the sun shine through soon enough as you realize it wasn’t meant to be since it would have stood in the way of something more important.
The angels came down to earth yesterday to take home the tiny and the great. I can only imagine how beautiful the cherubs singing had to have been to mask the wailing and crying of those left behind. The white pure light had to have been more brilliant than a million burning stars so that each would be blinded from the stained schoolroom and the agony on each face. As they entered Heaven’s gate, they were immediately surrounded by uncounted millions of fluttering wings covered with love from so many precious ones who had arrived before.
No earthly understanding can ever make sense of what just happened. No man made laws will change the evil that encouraged its execution. Unlike a natural death, no amount of time will heal this wound.
Ten years ago I survived a massive heart attack and was within a short distance of meeting my angel face to face. I have often thought over the past ten years how lucky I was to be spared and see so many more things in this world. After the events of the past few days, I am not so sure that being spared was a favor. If it were possible to take the place of just one of those children, I would gladly have done so.
I pray for all of you that you can find peace in your hearts and I ask that you pray for me too if that is your custom.