Monday, December 17, 2012


It‘s been easy for me to separate myself from the events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I’ve closed my eyes at the footage, clicked out of online articles, and blankly replied to my grieving friends, “Yeah, this world is an evil place. It just is.” 

In my heart of hearts, I could not even process the evil that was committed, and so I just didn’t.

But Saturday night I got a text from my sister that changed all that.

“Hi family—in light of Friday’s events, there will be a required sign-in for everyone before Rach’s Christmas concert, so it may take a few extra minutes.”

You know. In case there's a shooter.

You see, tomorrow night is Eastview Elementary’s second grade production of The Nutcracker. My niece, Rachel, has a speaking part. (She's pumped about it, by the way.)

This will be the fourth Christmas concert I attend at Eastview—I have three nieces and one nephew, so it’s a yearly tradition. They’ve dressed up as barnyard animals, candy canes, olden-timey children, and bees. For years I’ve sat in the rows of folding chairs and taken pictures of my littlest relatives, intermittently cheering and waving at my sweet babies from the audience. It’s such a regular occurrence that I’d thought about skipping this one—it’s an hour drive out, on a work night, and sometimes it just feels like too much.

But never once have I worried about my nieces’ and nephew’s safety at this school. In my mind, it’s been their safe haven, a place where they’ve learned about the world while gaining the skills they need to successfully interact with their peers.  It’s been easy to take it for granted.

 Getting that text from my sister gave me pause. It made me realize that my nieces and nephew, with all their bright innocence and trust in the goodness of the world—even they aren’t safe. They live in a small town in the Midwest during a time of heightened security, of lockdown drills and SWAT teams.  Safety, in its simplest form, is just an illusion. It’s a feeble attempt to create a feeling of control in a world that is completely out of control.

And what it all comes down to is this: even now, even in this day with smart phones and panic buttons and safe rooms and fire drills and backup plans—even now, we are still utterly and completely dependent on our heavenly father. We are still at his mercy. And in light of recent events, we are still called to treat each day with our loved ones like it could be our last.

So today I will return to the Word of God with the trembling and a sense of urgency that I should feel each day. I will beg for God’s protection over my loved ones, and pray for the grieving families in Connecticut who’ve experienced the worst loss imaginable.

And tomorrow night, I will sit amongst my family with my five-year-old nephew, Micah, on my lap. I will hug him tightly and tell him I love him, and together we’ll cheer for Rachel and her fellow second graders. And I will refuse to let this commonplace event lose its luster.

If I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that every day that I am able to celebrate the lives of my family members, I’m experiencing nothing less than a miracle.

Connecticut, my heart and my prayers go out to you.