45 minutes to spare?

Philip Yancey has been a favorite author of mine for some time. I just love his spirituality – no judgment – he seems to have some special insights about God, albeit most times admitting that God is beyond our understanding.  I had the opportunity to hear him speak when he came to a nearby church a few weeks ago. He spoke about Newtown, pain, suffering, loss, and ‘where is God when is hurts’,  and many of the parents and first responders were there because Sandy Hook is just a few miles away.

I was thrilled to see that the church put his talks online.  If you have about 45 minutes, please watch this – you won’t regret it!

http://www.walnuthillcc.org/home/news/0000/00-00/missed-philip-yancey

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Perhaps it’s time…

There is talk in washington, hollywood, school districts, and states all focusing on what it was that could have caused a tragedy like Newtown.  Guns, video games, violent tv and movies, lack of mental health support and facilities…This is good.  All of these  are contributing factors and all of them should be talked about.  It’s difficult to predict what the outcome may be.  Change?  We can hope.  Let’s keep the conversation going.

But, let’s not leave it up to others.  We have some power here…we can begin to make a difference.  We are the consumers who buy these video games.  We are the fans who attend these movies.  We are the ones who believe that assault rifles and high powered magazines are our ‘right’ because we are americans.

Money is a powerful motivator….greed and power are aphrodisiacs…never enough

Let’s stop buying these games, let’s stop attending these movies, let’s stop purchasing these guns.

Blessed Mother Teresa never looked at the ‘big picture’ of poverty.  If she had, she might have been so overwhelmed and discouraged…it may have paralyzed her efforts.  No, she looked at one person at a time and person-by-person, changed the world.

Will the sale of one less video game or movie ticket change the culture?  Probably not, but if we can come together, one person at a time….we can bring about change.  It’s happened before….it can happen again!Untitled

What am I missing?

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This is something that I don’t understand, never have, probably never will……

More guns, really?  Please tell me how putting more guns on the street, in homes, and in schools can possibly be a good thing?  I can see no good coming from this kind of mentality.  Arm principals, arm teachers, arm administrative staff?  What kind of training would they need to have, because I’m not sure that knowing how to fire a gun would have been enough to stop what happened in Sandy Hook.  So, instead of staff development days several times a year, we would have trainings at the local firing range?  These are some things that pop into my head….

  • police have guns but they still get shot and killed
  • when do the teachers decide to pull out that gun, when someone acts suspiciously?
  • I just have visions of schools turning into shoot-outs at the ok-corral
  • I look at the statistics of the US compared with Europe – the main difference?  Stricter gun laws and severe punishments
  • our problems will not be solved by putting more guns out there…..they go so much deeper

I’ve heard many things being discussed in the media lately.  Video games, violent tv shows and movies, guns, mental health, etc.  Not once have I heard any discuss the breakdown of families and morals.  Each week I read responses from children in our religious ed program, grades 1-8.  So many of them talk about the hurt and the pain they feel after their parents divorces.

It’s time we wake up!  There is no one answer, there is no easy answer – and throwing money or guns into the mix is NOT a solution.  Real change takes work, it takes sacrifice.  We need to put ourselves last and others first, we need to listen to our children and spend time with them.  Quality vs. quantity?  That’s adult talk….your children need quantity time, even if you are busy at home, your presence there makes a difference to them.  Children can’t think like adults, they can’t process the same way, they don’t understand.

Please, please wake up!  There is good in Newtown right now.  People are pouring out their sympathy, love and prayers, but we must make this a REAL change.  That is the only true way that we can honor these people.

We’re sad…

Today I went out into public after work for the first time since Friday.  I needed to pick up a prescription and get some food.  Since it was late, I decided to go to Stew Leonards, normally a happy place that is filled with music and large puppets that entertain the children.  As I got out of the car in the dark, I noticed that the rain had started again.  The sun broke through for an hour or two this afternoon, but even the sun didn’t shine so brightly today.  Something felt different, people’s faces were somber, and their steps  lumbered.  I saw a young child run through an aisle and I wanted to reach out to her.  I looked at her mother and hoped that she hugged her baby tightly today. I wondered how many times our Sandy Hook babies walked through this very same store, skipping and singing.

Nothing is the same.  We are changed.  We are wounded deeply.  We are violated.  Our hearts have been ripped apart.

There’s a cloud over Newtown.  It’s not going to go away anytime soon.  We weep…..we grieve…..we pray…..

We must love, love like we’ve never loved before.  Love our families, love our friends, love ourselves, and love our enemies.  It is only love that can absorb the pain.  It is only love that can absorb the sorrow.  It is only love that can eventually heal.  And, it is only love that can stop this evil.

 

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Sadness in Sandy Hook

885I haven’t been posting lately…..this blog is both a blessing and sometimes, if I am honest, a burden.  I don’t even know if anyone is following anymore, but I felt the urge to write tonight because maybe it will help me to process this terrible tragedy that occurred just a few miles from my own home.

The last time I saw the field that the news crews are occupying 24 hours a day was when I was sitting on the sidelines watching my son play soccer there.  The last time I was in Newtown was to buy a delicious cake at a small market there in the center of town.  The last time I was at St. Rose Church was to visit my friend who works in the religious ed. office.  The last time I was in Sandy Hook was to dine at a quaint little restaurant there.  And….the last time I saw a second grade student who attends Sandy Hook Elementary School was this past Sunday when her mom told me that she really isn’t talking much, but has drawn some pictures of guns.

Yesterday I had to teach about 160 students in grades 4-6 and then about 60 8th graders later in the evening.  At first I thought that I wouldn’t address any of this, being conscious of the fact that each family deals with their children in their own way.  But then, I thought…..let the children speak….where other than Church should this be discussed?  I told my catechists that if it came up in the classroom to keep it brief, discuss free will and always bring it back to the faith.  We have no answers, never will in this lifetime, but as a community of love and faith, we can find some comfort and solace in the Lord who is in the midst of it all.

The younger ones didn’t want to really speak about it…..at the end of the classes we formed a large circle of ‘love’ and said a prayer to send to our friends in the next town over.  The 8th graders wanted to talk a bit more.  We discussed our own responsibilities and that in every action there is a choice – a choice to build up or to tear down.  Not one of our students asked why ‘God did this’ – I pray it is because they understand and trust that God doesn’t do this, I’d like to think it is!

So, where do we go from here?  Our Youth Minister who lives in Sandy Hook asked me today, “Don’t you think that this is being covered just a little bit differently than the other tragedies?  Don’t you think that there is more talk of faith?”  Oh, I pray that there is…..Jesus said, ‘Let the little children lead…’  Maybe we can let these children lead us back to our core, to the only thing that makes any sense in the midst of this horrific event.  We are the children of a great and loving God, a God who suffers with us, a God who is present to us, with us and in us.  A God who came to this earth out of this unconditional love so that we can be united in every way. A God who shares our grief, compassion, our tears and our  sorrow.

We know…..we read it in Scripture…….”Jesus Wept”