I have always had the view in my mind that everything in life happens for a reason. Over this weekend, I realized what a child like view of the world that truly is. I was taking that idea on as a person who has never( and still has never) experienced true tragedy in my own life. Like so many other people around the globe right now and for the weeks to come, I am completely shaken to the core by what happened in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. December 14, 2012. I can't get the thought out of my mind that 20 innocent first graders( the same age as my own son) and their teachers and principal were brutally gunned down without any warning and apparently any reason.
I think the scariest part of it all for me is that the school and teachers did everything they were supposed to do and this horrific tragedy happened anyway. This tragedy could have happened anywhere. As I sat and watched the news reports over and over this weekend (without my children watching them with me), I think I was hoping that the more I watched what happened and heard about what happened that I would somehow be able to make sense out of it and be able to know a reason...there has to be a reason so many innocent spirits were taken from this world so violently. I kept and still keep wondering what the those final moments must have been like. Did the teachers even realize what was happening when the shots were fired? Did the children understand what was happening....did they know what was coming...or maybe they didn't see it at all???
There have been so many senseless tragedies which have happened in my lifetime and I am sure that unfortunately they will keep happening. There is no senseless death which is more important than the other, but I think that perhaps this tragedy strikes me very deeply for two different reasons. First of all, my son could have been one of those first graders and secondly, I was a teacher and I completely understand how much those teachers must have loved their students.
I have prayed to God to comfort the spirits of the teachers and children who are in heaven with him now, and I find comfort in knowing that they will never know pain or fear again. But, through these prayers, I think He also quietly placed an answer in my heart. When I woke up this morning and saw a father of one of the small girls talking about his grief, it hit me. There is not a reason for everything that happens in our lives. How could there possibly be a reason that this has happened? I cannot imagine being one of the parents of one of these small children and someone telling me that there was a reason for this. God does not have a specific plan for all of us. He is a good Father who instills in us His love and His peace , but he gives us the free will to do with it as we see fit. That is why there is still evil in this world. God is not a brain washer and he is not going to chase us around with a cross and make us listen to him. He is quiet; He is loving; and He is always around us, but we have to know who, what and where he is when we see it. Sometimes, he is staring us straight in the face and we don't even see it. It could be in your child's face when he asks you to play a game with him and you are too tired so you don't. It could be the man on the side of the road begging for money, and you turn your face away to pretend you don't see him.
I now believe that things don't really happen for a reason and the only plan God really has for us is to one day make it back Home to Him in Heaven. He is always there and we have to know where to look for him and truly see Him. He has given us the tools of Faith, Kindness and Love to use in our lives and to spread to the lives of those around us. It is up to us what we do with them. When tragedies like this happen, people many times say," How could God let this happen? Where was he when this was happening?" I really believe that he did not LET this happen. The person who decided to do this terrible thing chose not to see Him, and completely turned away, and God is not the Father who will force anyone to follow him. I strongly believe that God was there with the teachers and students when this was happening, and he was ready for them to come Home to Him. I pray that the children saw God in the faces of their teachers and that the teachers saw God in the faces of their students before they left this world. His plan for them was realized in that instant because those 26 people returned home to Heaven to be with Him forever.
I don't know of anything good that can come from such a horrific tragedy, and I cannot seem to keep the tears from welling up in my eyes as I think of those children and teachers. I know that this instance is very rare from what all the reports are saying, but it doesn't make it any easier to hear. I am praying for all of the families of the children and teachers who lost their lives on Friday and I am also praying for the family of the gunman...I know they did not ask or want this to happen.
Guy and I have told both our children about Jesus and God and their love for all of us. They know ( in our faith) that if they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died on the Cross for our sins that they will go to Heaven. We have prayed with them. One more thing we will tell them tonight is that when they are at school, their teachers are us, their parents. They need to listen to their teachers at all times, and they need to know that their teachers care for them very much. I pray to God that this tragedy never happens to my own children, but if it ever does, I want them to know that they are with someone who cares very much for them when I am not with them, and when they are scared, they need to pray.
I am ending this post with the realization that "Everything happens for a reason." is simply not true in my mind anymore. But, I do know that God's plan is for us to love one another, be there for each other in times of pain, sorrow and joyfulness, and ultimately, to make it back home to Him. I cannot get the thought of the terror in the minds of the children and teachers out of my mind, but I do take comfort in knowing He was there for them to welcome them Home again.