If there is one important thing that I have gained more of in the the past year -- it's perspective; a new way of looking at things; the ability to wipe my lens clean and see the world in a new view; a chance to appreciate things more; a lesson in not taking - even the smallest of things - for granted.
Perspective was what drove me to start this blog. I wasn't sure if I was going to share my blog, or if anyone would actually read it. But I knew that my perspective was changing, growing rather. And I wanted to document that ... for myself. I wanted to be able to call that perspective back up and remember what it felt like, and how very important it was to me when I discovered it.
I've been thinking about all of this, because today 20 young children and six adults lost their lives in an unthinkable shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
I once wrote specifically about how horrible I felt for complaining about how much energy it would take for me to get my children up, ready, and to school. After losing the ability to do those things because of my health and disabilities, I wanted those moments, and those abilities, back more than anything. I felt so guilty for ever complaining.
Today, I think about the families and friends of those children and adults whose lives were taken. I think about how they might have had some of the same types of mornings ... mornings that could have been rushed, chaotic or unappreciated.
Possibly even this morning.
After today, their mornings will never be the same.
Their lives will never be the same.
I would not pretend to know their pain and sadness.
But I feel pain. And I feel sad.
We don't even know who the children and most of the adults are yet, but we know that their loss was unexpected, unfair and unjust. And we mourn for them.
People will debate gun laws and mental illness. The news outlets will exhaust our ears with sayings like, "Evil rolled through this town today." They will report bits and pieces of information, however inaccurate or unnecessary, until there is nothing left to report. They will interview endless amounts of people, including witnesses and members of the community, people who once knew or still know the victims or the killer, and professionals with 'expert opinions.' They will invade the privacy of people who have experienced probably the worst experience they will ever have to face.
We will come to learn more horrible details that we may wish we hadn't heard. We will learn about the lives of those who were killed. No one will ever truly understand it.
When I listen closely to people -- I hear and see perspective. I hear friends talking about hugging their children or loved ones tighter, and urging others not to take precious moments or people for granted.
The difficult part is carrying that perspective with you always. It's not easy for anyone to do, including myself. But it's important to hold on to a fresh, real perspective.
I will pray endlessly for those who lost someone that they will miss with each waking moment. I pray that their anger and sadness eventually lessons and that they are able to live with some peace and comfort.
I will also pray for a lasting perspective for us all ... one that will change the priorities and values of our society. I pray for an outpouring of kindness, respect and love that has no end. I pray for the strength to overcome the darkness.
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
-- Max Lucado
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." -- Matthew 5:4