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Light and Dark

December 15, 2012

A good writer does not overdo metaphors.  But I am human, and I cling to this metaphor of light in the darkness.

When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, I was a high school student working part-time at a funeral home.  One of the directors fervently wished that Timothy McVeigh would get the electric chair.  I tried to reason with him against capital punishment.  “Wait till you have kids,” he told me.  “If that had been one of my kids in that daycare, I would want to kill him with my own hands.”

Now I do have children.  When the Seattle shootings happened last June, I listened to the news.  I reloaded the Seattle Times front page over and over, searching for updates, clues as to who this gunman was and why he killed strangers in a coffee shop and again in a parking lot downtown.  This time around, I cannot listen to the radio.  I can’t read the news.  This is a different level of darkness, where someone murders children.

As I put my own children to bed last night and tonight, I put a hand on each forehead and blessed them:  for safety.  For protection.  For that which I cannot provide.  I can’t protect them from emotional hurts, as I wrote about before, but neither can I protect them from crazy people with access to weapons who make horrible, violent choices that irrevocably alter others’ lives.

I feel like I have witnessed so much darkness recently.  At Sandy Hook.  At the high school I taught at, where a junior took his own life in the parking lot on Thursday night.  In Aurora.  In Portland.  And here.  And here.  And here.

For right now, the only thing that lightens the weight of love and fear threatening to overwhelm my heart is light:  candles in the menorah and in the Advent wreath.  Flame of faith and hope, and of a history of overcoming evil.

We cannot eradicate the darkness.  We cannot let the darkness overtake us.  We weep and remember and love, and keep the candles burning.

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  –Galatians 5:22-23

By three things the world is preserved, by justice, by truth, and by peace, and these three are one: if justice has been accomplished, so has truth, and so has peace. –JT Ta’anit 4:2

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth Frindell permalink
    December 18, 2012 10:18 am

    Wonderful expression of feelings! I went through more than one lockdown at school in CA, since the school has outdoor corridors, and fire safety/budge cuts on security staff prevented closing hall gates during class times.

    Cuts in support staff (counselors!) need to be reversed, hopefully through federally funded programs. Anyone taking bets that Tea Partiers/far right elected officials make that a priority right NOW?
    This is a perfect venue to start a grassroots movement opposing limitless access to guns/ammunition in our nation.

    We deserve the derision/prejudice from the more advanced parts of the world for treating such powereful, destructive impliments so selfishly.

    Boycots have ever been formidible weapons, even stronger than guns! Start on your own turf!

  2. Emily permalink
    December 17, 2012 8:23 am

    I have also found this tragedy difficult to hear about. A friend told me something helpful that she had learned from Mr. Rogers. He said that when something horrible happens, look for the helpers. There are always lots of helpers. In this case, there was one horrible man but many good people doing everything they can to improve the situation.

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