Too big to comprehend

Candles lit by pilgrims at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. 

Like everyone else, I am speechless about and stunned by the events at Sandy Hook Elementary yesterday.  Like everyone else, I feel an overwhelming desire to hold my children tight coupled with a devastating sense of helplessness.  There is also a powerful mixture of gratitude and guilt, that my children are safe, and, of course, a hovering fear: what if someday they are not?

There is one thing we can do, and I am so, so grateful to Gail for posting about it.  Her post is short, actionable, and to the point: please write to your representative.

My sister (who is both a mother and an educator, not to mention the wisest and most thoughtful soul I have ever met) and I emailed back and forth yesterday.  She shared my strong outrage that this should happen in school, a place that was always for the two of us a haven, a safe place, a home (I just wrote about why this is one reason I so love Hogwarts).  She said she was planning to make sure her children didn’t find out about Sandy Hook.  I would love to shield mine, too, but I’m not sure I will be able to.  They are older, and I fear they will hear.  To be prepared for those conversations, I clicked through and read Brene Brown’s resources about talking to children about violence and death.

Finally, I was moved by these words, which I read on SmacksyThe darkness that led to this and the suffering of those who lost children are both too big to comprehend.

Prayer for Newtown from Marianne Williamson, December 14, 2012

Dear God,
We come to You with broken hearts,
surrendering the catastrophe that has occurred  in Connecticut.
We cannot comprehend the darkness that led to this,
or the suffering of those who have loved and lost.
They are both too big.
But in You, dear God, there are Answers we cannot surmise and Light we cannot summon by ourselves.
For those who bear tonight the unbearable burden
of unimaginable grief,
who in their agony yell at the forces of fate…
For those who moan and those who faint,
for those who rage and those who pray,
we moan and pray along with them.
For tonight, those were our children too.

May a legion of angels come upon the parents
and bring to them an otherworldly touch,
an otherworldly comfort
and otherworldly sense that their children are well,
that they are safe with God,
and shall be with them always.
Give to those who grieve what no mortal force can give…
the touch of Your Hand upon their heart.
May all who are touched by this darkness
be lit by Your grace.
Please wipe away all tears, dear God.
as only You can do.
We present to you our brokenness, and the horror and pain of those who grieve.
May those who died find joy in the immortal realms.
May those who mourn them be comforted in this hour of their agony.
And may our prayers and actions be guided by You, dear God,
to create a world where this occurs no more.

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  1. Posted December 15, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I read a shorter version of this prayer yesterday, and it was very comforting. Oh, the agony.

  2. Posted December 15, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Lindsey for the prayer from Marianne Williamson. It echoed so much of what I tried for hours to articulate last night myself. Finally all I could distill was:

    Only God can glue together
    what evil has shattered.
    He just asks us to hand Him
    the pieces of our broken hearts.

  3. Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    just wanted to say i’m here, reading and searching for solace. i keep being reminded of the words of your holiday cards.

    Dona Nobis Pacem

    Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.


  4. Posted December 17, 2012 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    Oh my, may a legion of angels be with us all.

  5. Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Oh I wish I had come here on Saturday. You so rarely post on weekends that I didn’t think to check and I have literally been waiting till this morning to read your words as I knew, on some level, they would help. Hugs.

  6. Posted December 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Devastating. Unthinkable.

    My only salvation right now is each of us linking together to find a new way, a new path, a new reality in which this horror ceases to exist.

    Knowing you’re there, struggling with me, beside me, this helps.

    Hugs to you, dear friend. xoxoxo

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