There've been a million million Facebook posts about the horrible shootings in Connecticut. Debates about gun control. Expressions of grief and horror about precious lives cut short. Posts about twenty new angels. Admonitions to 'hug your kids,' as if that will protect them, or change what happens to them when our backs are turned.
Please don't think that I view these shootings coldly. We had a mass murder here in our town a few years ago, and we are still reeling from its effects on our community. Every time I hear of another one, my heart simply tears into aching pieces. I've held a mother in my arms as she grieved the senseless loss of her young daughter. I 'get it' as well as anyone who has not actually lost a loved one in such a way can.
But there is SO much 'magical thinking' out there. So many of us look for answers, not so much in support of those who have lost loved ones, but in hope of avoiding such disasters in our own lives. And as appallingly frequent as these utterly newsworthy events are, most parental losses occur quietly, one child at a time.
Cancer. SIDS. Cystic fibrosis. Kidney disease. Sickle cell. Asthma. Eating disorders.
Each and every one of these diseases kills more children each year than mass homocide. Each one leaves hundreds of parents to face holidays with empty arms. Each of these leaves brothers and sisters, grandparents and cousins, lost and grieving, regardless of the time of year. And most of them cause years of suffering beforehand.
We learned that hard way that bad things happen, and that we can do nothing about it.
By all means do whatever God calls you to do in response to this sad event. And do hug your kids. But do not fail to remember to hug the parents around you - the ones whose children struggle and suffer, and the ones whose children have gone home. Those parents need you, really need you.