This morning, while waiting to pick up my precious two year old from preschool, I sat in the car putting stamps on the 140 Christmas cards that needed to be sent out today. This song came on the radio, one that I know well but have not heard in a very long time:
Its called Belleau Wood, by Garth Brooks. Take a listen. Its about the Christmas truce during the war in 1914. Its the story of the German soldiers and American soldiers, enemies in the war, laying down their guns and singing Silent Night together in the trenches. It is an emotional song on a good day.
Today, I listened to it while watching my baby girl's blonde pony tail bounce up and down on the playground, as she ran and jumped and laughed and played with her little friends. And I cried my eyes out, thinking of the precious lives lost here in Newtown this week.
The final lines crushed me: "Heaven's not beyond the clouds, its just beyond the fear."
Shock seems to be wearing off here. Everyone I know was a wreck today. We all cried far more today than we have any other day since Friday. I think the reality of what happened here is finally setting in, and its life-shattering. So tonight I'm praying that the fear of every baby and every child and every parent and every teacher and every person in Newtown and in CT and in our country and in our world would be eased by the peace of the Lord this Christmas season. And that somehow we may find a way to stop shooting and call a truce, not just for Christmas day, but for every day.
The babies with the blonde ponytails need us to figure it out.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Today, as a resident of Newtown, I have two requests.
#1. If you live in Newtown, please don't talk to anyone in the press anymore. The stories have been written, there is no new information, and anything they are seeking now is likely inappropriate and over the line.
For example, the reporter from Dublin last night that intruded as I was bringing my neighbor (the school nurse at Sandy Hook Elementary School) dinner... He wanted her to look at the class picture of the first grade class that had been massacred so that she could identify the sole survivor, a precious innocent sweet traumatized child who said, when finally reunited with her mother, "Mommy, I'm ok, but my friends are all dead." Now, I realize it would be exciting as a reporter to find out who that child is and get the lead and publicize her face and maybe try to find her and ask her how she feels and what she saw.
But we're going to say no to that. A big fat gigantic capital-letters NO. No way, never, absolutely not, not in a million years. You leave that baby alone. She is ours and we will protect her. It'll come out eventually, no doubt, but we are sure as hell not going to help you make that happen. And my sweet neighbor certainly doesn't need to see pictures of all of the precious students that she knows and lost, as she is trying to make sense of this horrific experience and grieve. So we're going to say no to that too.
I told a different reporter, a producer from Fox, that I assumed that the only way we would get the media to leave is to stop talking to them. He nodded and said, "That's probably true." So neighbors, please stop talking. Give them nothing. And they will leave. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But they will leave.
#2. If you live elsewhere, please stop watching. We know you are grieving with us. We know it is hard to turn away. We don't want you to forget us, we desperately need your prayers and your love and for your hearts to continue to be with ours. We are grateful for the support of a nation and a world, and it will help us as we seek to move on, day by painful day. But we need you to stop watching us.
The families burying their children this week need privacy. They are living out every parents' worst nightmare, a horror that cannot even be imagined, and they need to be able to do it without the world watching. Or taking their pictures. Or asking them how they feel.
The residents of our town need to be able to drive down our streets and go to our stores and walk down our sidewalks and get to our friends' houses and make our way to the memorials set up for our fallen ones to pay our respects. Please, love us and pray for us from your own living rooms, not on our streets. We can't do it with you here.
We also can't do it while the media is here. But if you stop watching their reports from outside the funerals of our slain children and from outside the doors of our fragile but brave schools, the ratings will go down, and they will leave. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But they will leave, eventually. And then, maybe, we can begin to heal, and gradually become, once again, the place of laughter and love and beauty that we all call home.