The children were a sea of red and green, Santa hats and reindeer ears. Tiny voices filled the air while their bodies swayed side to side. The audience was beaming with joy. The parents’ eyes twinkling as rays of sunshine streamed in the school gym.
As I sat on the wooden bleacher, I had no idea what was going on outside the room. Out in the dark.
Bumping into a friend after the school Christmas concert, she asked how I could have left my children at school after hearing about the shooting.
“Didn’t you want to hold on to them and not let go?” she asked. I didn’t quite know what to say as I did not have the full details of Sandy Hook.
With my older daughter after her school’s Christmas concert.
I flashed back to the concert with visions of my daughter waving and smiling. How we hugged and kissed following the concert. I should have held her longer.
Flipping on the news later, images flashed on the screen. The faces of horror and fear were too much for me to absorb. I was sick to my stomach with tears filling my eyes.
The sickening feeling was familiar. As if I had been here before…
No Answers, Only Questions
That night, visions of the children and their families in Connecticut filled my dreams. As a freelance journalist, I placed myself there at the school covering the “story” as a reporter with Geraldo Rivera (go figure).
Notepad and pen in hand, I sat with the press in a crowd. Cameras flashing, press hands popping up in a flurry probing school and political officials with question after question.
How? Why? How? Why?
Their answers muted and garbled. The frustration reached a tipping point. I awoke in a sweat, my jaw clenching.
The morning light peeked through our bedroom window, I reached for my husband’s hand – holding it tight. Our two daughters pushed open the door and jumped in our bed to snuggle.
In the light.
Later that day, my daughter had spontaneously made me a homemade card from some cardboard she found in the garage:
I began to weep as she handed it to me.
She asked: “Why are you crying, mom?”
I pulled her to my chest and whispered, “Tears of joy because I love you so much.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those suffering in Sandy Hook. May God give you strength and courage.
I leave you with this from Rabbi Naomi Levy, who is the author of three best-selling books: Talking to God, To Begin Again, and Hope Will Find You. She is the spiritual leader of Nashuva in Los Angeles.
Praying in a Community
A community of faith can provide more than support when we are in need of help. The members of a faith community can strengthen our resolve to heal, can link their prayers to ours, and can restore us to faith. They can envelop us in caring and love.
Praying with a community alters us. Often when life hurts we pray by ourselves and assume that we are alone in our pain. When we enter a community to pray our eyes open up. We see that we are not alone in our pain—there are others who suffer too. And we also realize that we are not alone in the world, there are dozens of people praying for us, extending their arms to help. Suddenly the nature of our prayers begins to change. We stop drowning in self-pity. We stop praying for ourselves alone. Before long we begin adding others to our prayers. We begin praying for our world. We begin to see our own troubles in a new light. Perhaps things aren’t as bad as they seemed after all.
Sometimes a community’s prayers can literally save a life.
Excerpt from helpguide.org.