Monday, April 15, 2013

Finding Solace in Tragedy

It's hard to know what to say on days like today. As I sat watching some horrific details unfold on the television while my almost 16-month-old played at my feet, so many thoughts went through my head. What was I going to say to our teenager when she asked me what was going on? Who would do such a thing? How is this going to affect Tim? What has this world - that our babies are growing up in - come to? All cliche thoughts, moments of selfishness, moments of personal dread. Then the other thoughts rolled in... How many people were injured? Dead? Who's daughters, sisters, mothers, brothers, sons, fathers were out there? Who was unaccounted for? Who didn't have a place to go? How could we help?

The problem is, I didn't have answers. No one had them at that moment in time. And I wasn't going to be able to deliver answers, or reassure my children - myself - that everything was safe, that we were safe.

It wasn't long after that I realized I knew enough to teach my girls to find solace in tragedy (or ... at least one of my girls. The other is still too small to understand, so we used her magnet letters to spell "good" words like pray, heal, peace, love, etc.).

So after picking up my teen from school this afternoon, of course, the first thing out of her mouth was about the Boston Marathon (okay, I'm lying - it was about a boy, but we'll forgive her that since she is 16) --

So I tried to explain that it was too early for any details to have emerged BUT that she needed to remember a few simple things:

1) Not everyone in this world is bad. Generally most people are good, but tragedy does happen and it happened today.

2) And when a tragedy like this strikes, it only causes all the rest of us to grow closer together - to lean on one another - because that's what God intended us to do.

3) (As morbid or macabre as this may seem to you) We never know when it's our time to go - so be nice to people, love yourself, love others, be respectful, never leave an argument unresolved, and always, always uphold God.

4) Last, I reminded her (as if I needed to) to pray for those affected.

So with that, with prayer, and in quiet reverence,

May you see God's light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness
Never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
when the shadows fall—
You do not walk alone.

Robin & Tim