Yesterday morning around 9:40, my younger brother walked through my front door and my kids went crazy with excitement. Uncle Mike was here to play! He would take them to see the Christmas train in the basement! He would construct towering buildings out of Legos! He would carry clingy Ella anywhere she wanted to go! My heart warmed as I watched them all together.

Yesterday morning around 9:40, another man’s younger brother walked through the front door of an elementary school and those kids went crazy with fear. Teachers, principals, and parents tried to shield little eyes and bodies from carnage and whizzing bullets. No Christmas trains. Instead, pain. No Lego buildings. Instead, loss. No clingy kids carried around by their uncles who love them. Instead, bodies carried out in bags.

Like you, I haven’t even begun to wrap my brain—or heart—around this horrific tragedy. I’m sitting here, sobbing, doubting my faith, and feeling hopeless. Lost. Sad. So, so sad. This isn’t an issue of guns or of religion or of school security. This is an issue of humanity.

It’s terrifying to acknowledge that people like yesterday’s shooter live in our world, and to make ourselves feel better, we’ll try to find a reason for his actions. We’ll want to point fingers at his parents’ divorce, probably find fault mostly with his mother, and the “experts” will examine any conflict in which he was ever involved. The meaningless number of times he fought with a girlfriend and the irrelevant instances where he was angry or a loner will be thrown under a microscope and analyzed until our country feels as though it understands the shooter’s motive. We fear what we don’t understand; if we can make sense of this young man and believe that he did what he did for a reason, our fear can dissipate.


Yesterday’s shooter, that murderer, that coward who targeted innocent children, still lives. He may have turned the gun on himself because he wasn’t man enough to reap what he sowed, but he lives. Each time the media says his name, prints his picture, or discusses another detail of his life in conjunction with that shooting, someone else somewhere else is green with disgusting envy wondering how he/she can “one-up” yesterday’s massacre.

Banning guns is futile; they can’t walk into a school and start shooting, and the hands that hold them will find a way to get them regardless of the law.

Claiming that God wasn’t with those students because His presence is not allowed in schools is a propaganda-fueled excuse. Prayerful students cannot change the empty soul of some.

These will continue to be hot-button issues because there is no definitive answer or solution. There is no black and white, only gray. Gray over which we have no control. And in a few months, when the press has moved to the next “big story,” our lives will go on as usual, forgetting to concern ourselves with such “trivial” matters such as prayer in school or gun control. But those families who have been affected by this unthinkable act of evil will forever be without their children. The Christmas gifts intended for those angels will still sit in their hiding places, wrapped with ribbon, because Mom and Dad can’t bear to part with them. Try as they might, those poor parents won’t be able to substitute their kids’ presence with presents.



13 thoughts on “Presence

  1. Wow. You wrote my thoughts better than I could. I know that finding out motives and blaming won’t ease the pain for those parents; it just makes us feel like maybe it won’t happen to us.

    Instead, I just offer up another prayer for those sweet little children’s families and make every moment with my family count.

  2. My heart is broken. I can’t shake the funk either. My head is cloudy. I feel so helpless, and yet, blessed at the same time. I still have my children to tuck in at night. Hope you and your family are doing well.

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