Sometimes there are no words to express our feelings.
Sometimes words feel like a container for our emotions,
pressing us down,
covering us like a lid.
This morning, after I finally had a minute alone, I went into my closet, wrapped my fingers around the shelving until my knuckles turned white, and screamed. When I was done, I crawled onto the carpet of my bedroom floor, covered my face and sobbed. It’s hard to feel the angst of sorrow and the pain of tragedy. It feels tight like a rubber band needing to be stretched further and twisting like a wash cloth being firmly wrung out.
No act of contrition seemed appropriate for what happened yesterday in Connecticut.
As I lay on my floor, I thought about my role working in an elementary school. Each morning hundreds of students are welcomed into our building where I know each one by name. I thought about how we regularly practice lock-down drills, hiding in discrete areas, away from windows, away from danger. We tell our students and ourselves, “This is only a drill. It’s just practice.”
Apparently it’s not.
I thought about my nieces and nephews who will grow up with a loving family, many of us public school educators who will smile and tell them, “School is a wonderful place to be,” trusting that when we send them on the big yellow school bus, they’ll come safely home in the afternoon, waving an art project in their hands, lips smiling, bubbling over with news of their day.
And even though my mind DOESN’T WANT TO GO there:
I think about how much I appreciate my principal and how I aspire to be one someday. The school in Connecticut lost theirs. If I taught in that school I would have to resign.
I think about dead bodies lying on the ground and the horror that would shackle my own body if the students that bring me joy every day were somehow lying in front of me, painfully lifeless.
My world would become empty if my nieces and nephew were cruelly snatched out of it and my brother and sister-in-law were left to grieve without relief.
I am angry and sad and questioning.
A few weeks ago I was sent this video of John Piper reading a poem about Jesus visiting the Inn Keeper who housed his family the night He was born. The Inn Keeper tells Jesus about the massacre of children that insured because of His arrival. When I first watched it I found it disturbing; now I can’t think of anything more appropriate.