Today was not like any other day. Granted, it started out with me getting up 10 minutes after my alarm clock had issued it's final warning, but from that point on, things have been different.
First of all, there was no yelling to get moving or threats to turn the kidlet's color from green to yellow. There was no chastising when the oldest couldn't find his shoes. And when I looked at the clock and saw we were probably going to be late, I didn't rush them out the door. I just accepted that we would be late and went on getting everyone ready.
Second, instead of spending the drive to school thinking about what I need to do today, I spent the time talking to my kids. Telling them how much I love them and how special they are. Giving them a pep talk about the day and reminding them to be good friends.
We were, in fact, eight minutes late. We arrived just as the classes were gathering in the gym for a prayer vigil. And I realized how incredibly lucky my kids are to attend a school where it's not only okay to worship your faith openly, it's encouraged. No, it's demanded, but in a good way.
And as I watched those beautiful little faces blend into the sea of lights, I pulled away, tears flowing freely down my face.
Like so many parents in this country, and I would imagine around the world, I did not want to send my kids to school today. I wanted them home, with me, safe and protected from the world. I wanted one more snuggle session before they headed off to take on a world that can be brutal and ugly. But I didn't keep them home. I sent them off into a world that can also be joyous and uplifting. Where compassionate people are more than willing to form a human chain to block out a small number of people who proclaim God sent the shooter into Sandy Hook Elementary School to kill twenty-six members of the human race.
Yeah, right. God wanted a little girl, so young she hadn't even lost her first tooth to be shot multiple times with a gun that should be in a war zone, not in an elementary school. And I'm sure God wanted the survivors to be traumatized as they fled the building with glimpses of their classmate lying dead in a pool of their own blood. Apparently I worship a different God then the Westboro Baptist Church members. I like my God better.
The God I believe in mourns with us. Though He welcomes those souls home, He weeps for the pain and fear they endured as well as the ones left behind. I believe there is a higher purpose for life... all life, but I do not believe God rejoices in death. Not even the death of a killer. All life is precious to Him.
Which is why I believe he sent those Guardian angels... you know, the ones we call teachers. Like the one who hid her students in closets and cupboards and then bravely said the class was in the gym just before she was gunned down. He sent a Principal to them with courage and grace to warn her entire school that evil was slithering through their midst. And a school psychologist who could have stayed behind closed doors, but instead headed toward the bullets in an effort to stop the gunmen, only to fall to his trigger finger.
We may never know what the true motivation was for this unimaginable reality our country faces. And I pray to God we will never know what the families and the community of Newtown are going through. But I do hope this is a turning point. I hope this is a chance for us to stop fighting over everything. To stop blaming each other because things in our lives aren't perfect or we don't have everything we want. It's time to remember that every day is a gift. That we are blessed to have people in our lives who love us and lift us up and yes, challenge and disagree with us. We are blessed to have one more day, one more minute with the people we care about.
Kidletville will, unfortunately, probably go back to the hustling mornings and the distracted drives to school in time. But maybe it won't. Maybe this is a turning point for our little village as well. Perhaps it's time that my citizens and I take inventory on what is most important in our lives and then begin leading a life worth living. Maybe it's time we create a living legacy. Why wait until we're gone to change the world. Why not do it now?
As Mayor of Kidletville, it's my job to lead the way, to light the pathway of hope in my family. Dear Husband is, without a doubt, the glue that holds us together. But me, I'm the heart. It's time that the heart shines hope.
And, if you could, tell the teachers of your children how much you appreacite what they do. I don't think there's a question that, had it not been for the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there would be a whole lot more funerals in the coming days.