I have been starting and restarting different blog posts in my head. Up until Friday the blog was going to be about how I am 30 weeks pregnant, cannot get rid of a lovely cold, and how big Lily is getting. Then the elementary school shooting in Connecticut happened, and my thoughts shifted. I thought about what I would say, what I would write. Gun control? Talking to kids about violence? How sad it all makes me feel? There are so many directions in which to go...
One of the things that has gone nuts on Facebook is the idea that having prayer, or God, in schools will solve these problems. Honestly, I don't think this could be further from the truth. There is not a doubt in my mind that people were praying in that school when the gunman entered the school. I can gaurentee that teachers who were hiding their kids, or reading them stories were saying prayers that they would be ok, that their kids would be ok. Furthermore, the gunman wasn't from the school; he forced his way into the school. I know God was there when Victoria Soto systematically hid her children, losing her own life when she protected theirs. I know God was there when police and teachers escorted scared children to a safe area. He was there.
At a time in history when a much larger atrocity was occurring (please don't misconstrue this as my saying worse-- any loss of life at the hands of evil is horrible whether it be the loss of 1 life or the loss of 11,000,000- suffering is suffering, tragedy is tragedy), the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel looks back and writes of his experience while watching a young child get hanged:
The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue-tinged. but the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive...For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed. Behind me, I heard the same man asking: “Where is God now?” And I heard a voice within me answer him: “Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows.”
While many passages in Night cut to the core of my soul, make me feel a sadness that not many books have made me feel...this passage is one that is particularly touching. The thought of watching a young boy die on gallows, the thought of seeing him still alive...it is something that is hard for me to think about. The part at the end- the part about God- can be read, I think, in two ways. The first, is that God died on the gallows when the boy died...that, for Elie, God not longer exists. However, I read this a bit differently. When Elie thinks that God is on gallows, I imagine that God is with the young boy. That in his final, horrible moments on Earth, God is there, with the boy, on that gallows.
I have to believe that in their last moments on Earth, that God was with those little children. He was in that school. He was there. He may not be explicitly taught. Formal prayers may not be said. But God is there. It is horrible that 20 little children were killed on Friday, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. But I know, in their final moments God carried them. He took them home.