I woke up this morning completely unsure of how my day would go. After the events of last Friday, I didn't know what to expect. All weekend long, I have been immersed in the news and pain, to the point that I've just had to shut the t.v. and my mind off. But it just doesn't stop. The constant, nagging sadness. As an elementary teacher, this has hit closer to home than I was prepared for. I remember Columbine. I was in the 8th grade. I clearly and distinctly recall watching the news and seeing the pictures, terrified to return to school, while still knowing that I'd be sheltered in the protective bubble of my family and friends and church.
This time, it's different. It's personal. As a 2nd grade teacher, I feel this on a totally different level. As a middle schooler, I wondered how I'd protect myself. As a teacher, I wonder what I'd do if I, God forbid, were ever faced with such a situation. I visualized it countless times this past weekend, how I'd shelter my students. Protecting them no matter the cost. This isn't something that a teacher should have to prepare for. This isn't something that students should have to fear. I went to sleep last night, not knowing what the kids might ask. What they might say. To me. To each other. And then, Monday morning came...
I got to work early today. I turned on the computer. Prepared morning work. Fixed desk arrangements. Picked up fallen name tags. Checked my lesson plans and my email. Saw the encouraging note from our principal about using good judgment and sheltering the youngest ears from any scary discussions (also, about the crackdown on our school safety plans). Prepped for the afternoon Christmas craft. Promptly, at 7:30, my littles entered the room. MY babies. And...everything was business as usual. They were happy, sheltered, innocent of what had happened. They were excited, smiley 7 year olds. They worked hard all day, and, not once was a single bit of the news mentioned. I'm humbled by the sweet parents in my classroom that love on their children so much and work so hard to shelter and protect their precious minds. We spent the day in complete Christmas bliss. And, at the end of the day, I hugged them each a little longer and tighter, feeling so gracious that I have the opportunity to spend my days with them.
The pain from Connecticut isn't going to go away overnight. My prayers are constantly directed toward the families and friends feeling this more deeply than any others. My prayer is that, somehow through this tragedy, others might come to know the power of the Creator. That God's presence would be felt by those hurting in ways we can't even imagine and that they would be drawn to Him. That God would use this unspeakable act of terror to show others just how mighty and beautiful it is to follow after Him. And, as followers of Christ, I pray that we would be reminded of the glory that is to come:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. -Revelation 21:4