More Thoughts And Prayers - Really?
Reflections On Another School Shooting
This is the truth. For the past crazy year, every morning when I walk out into the kitchen and family room to take care of our two German shepherds, I pick up my charging cell phone to check the news and say to myself, “What kind of shit is happening in the world this morning?”
I’m never disappointed . . . and I say that facetiously. Natural disasters and random, bizarre accidents aside, something insane constantly is occurring around the world – in foreign countries, in our own government, and in plain, old, average communities in our United States. Today was no different.
No sooner had I drunk my cup of coffee, than it happened – an alert on my phone announcing a school shooting in Santa Fe. At first I thought it was Santa Fe, NM, but then found out the town was in Texas. No matter. It still meant probable injuries, maybe a death or two. (Are we becoming so accustomed to events such as this mass murder that the news doesn’t faze us?) By the time the morning was over, I learned that nine students and a teacher had been killed; another ten people had been shot. Twenty people. Twenty people (and their loved ones) who, I would assume, thought they were beginning another average day, had their lives changed forever.
So, what is going to be done about yet another tragedy in our country? Are we going to send a hefty batch of thoughts and prayers? Sure. We’ll do that. Is that all we’ll do though? Probably it is . . . and that is an additional disaster, a pitifully sad state of affairs. Politicians will again bluster their outrage, sputter about mental illness, rant about the unfairness of bullying, sidestep the issue of more responsible gun control, and cozy up to special interests who want to maintain the status quo. It’s a fact.
Aside from that, however, are those pesky thoughts and prayers. Offer them. Give them. Believe in them if necessary, but know they will not bring dead children back to their parents. They will not do that. Anyone who has lost a child for any reason, whether in a barrage of bullets in a school shooting, on a battlefield, in an accident, or to illness such as cancer - anyone like that - knows the stark reality of absolute loss. Trust me. I know this is true because I am one of those parents.
“Ah,” one might say. “He’ll always be with you in your heart, in sweet memories, in unforgettable recollections.”
Yeah. Right. True. Such a comment does hold some veracity; it does, but it falls short to those of us who have lost a child. The void is forever. And for the parents of the students who died today, for those people, I am so, so sad . . . and a little bit angry. Today will begin a new reality for them. Sure, most of them will “get through”; they will carry on, but it will never, ever, be the same. Life, in an instant, has been altered.
In reality, perhaps that is true for all of us. To some degree maybe all of our lives shifted a bit today for despite all the thoughts and prayers, the tragedy that occurred this morning at a high school in the state of Texas cannot be removed from our consciousness; it cannot, unless, of course, we are spiritually dead already.