What can you say when there are no words?
We are all still reeling in the aftermath of the school shootings in Connecticut last Friday. I, for one, feel leveled and heartbroken. It is impossible to imagine the impact on the families who lost children, those whose children were spared but so profoundly traumatized, and the rest of us who bear witness from afar to the unthinkable.
Here, in the interest of offering at least a few words of comfort, is some guidance on how to talk to your children in the wake of this tragedy.
My mom’s house burned to the ground a little over a year ago. She lost everything … but it was a hidden blessing. Since my dad died a few years ago, my brother, sister and I had been trying to get Mom to move to a smaller house in a less-isolated community. She would not budge, saying, “Everything I know is here: my home, my neighbors, my life.” The fire, though tragic, took care of that.
As our brothers and sisters in Japan struggle to find peace, understanding, support and a sense of order after this month’s devastating earthquake, I invite each of you to join me as I offer these words of prayer:
As a parent and grandparent, I was very hesitant to watch Rabbit Hole because I knew that it focused on parents who were dealing with the death of their child. After much encouragement from my wife, Lauren, and one of our community members (Mark), and with the tragedy in Tucson in the background, we watched the film last night and were absolutely mesmerized.
I recently received the unexpected news that three people I love had been in a car accident. The mother and youngest daughter were killed and the second child, 11 years old, was in critical condition. These people are a major part of our spiritual community and youth ministry. I received phone calls and emails filled with shock and sadness. As I sat in the memorial service, I had such a feeling of sadness and loss. The children often ran up to me on a Sunday and showered me with hugs and kisses. I always felt such love and joy during these quick exchanges. Their smiles and joyous ways always filled my heart with warmth and peace.
Recently, I heard that around $50 million was raised during a telethon for Haiti. This raised my spirits enough to get me through another round of sun salutations. Sometimes I feel so helpless when dealing with the larger tragedies of life that it puts me into a depressed tailspin.