I don't need to dwell on the gory details of the day, I'm sure by now we all get the gist of what happened. But I just want to say that I feel such a deep sense of sadness about the whole thing.
Sadness for the entire town.
I grew up in a small town and know (first-hand, sadly) that tragedy strikes close to EVERYONE's homes and hearts in a small town.
Sadness for the families of those who were lost.
Having an almost 3 year old, I choke up simply thinking about losing him…let alone in such a public, horrific, gruesome way. I can't imagine looking at the Christmas tree and trying to imagine how to possibly move forward and celebrate a typically joyous time of year; thinking of my lost child and how much they would've loved all the gifts I so lovingly picked out for them. My heart aches to the point of breaking for those families and hope they find peace somehow. I am sad that I can only hold my kids close and pray for the families, but that there is nothing anyone can do to alleviate their pain.
Sadness for those who survived.
If anyone has gone through a traumatic event in their lives, they know trauma is not easily (if ever) forgotten. Time heals, but the scars never quite go away. I pray daily for those who survived, especially those tender young minds, that they will be able to move forward and use this to inspire them to do great things with their lives. I pray that they can heal and find peace, and find healthy ways to rest at night without nightmarish visions.
But amidst all the sadness, I feel such a sense of peace and hope for those who are lost. I firmly believe that the ones who are suffering are those of us who were left behind. Those who died have now moved on to a beautiful, safe place where they will be innocently wrapped in arms of mercy forever.
I don't often talk of religion on this blog, and that is done on purpose. I believe in Free Agency, which is the right to choose for yourself what is right, wrong, and what you believe to be true – choosing your religion being an integral part of that right to choose.
But I can't help but think that what I know to be true might bring some peace and solace to someone out there. I think that we must believe in a higher power in order to live by faith, and not fear.
I believe that we were all put on this earth for a reason, and that our time here is short. It is simply a probationary period where we are given a body, a family, and opportunities to do the most good possible in our short years allowed on this earth.
I believethat after our designated time is up, that we die and are welcomed back to Heaven with open arms. I know that we will be judged for how we chose to live on this earth, and I know that it is a merciful judgement done out of love. How lucky for these little souls to be so innocent!
In one year we lost my Grandma and two young uncles (both leaving children behind), all due to cancer, all suddenly, all from the same side of the family, and all tragically. It was a hard year to say the least, and continues to be hard (especially around the holidays). I remember when I was struggling with all of this my mom said something profound to me.
“Jordan, life on this earth is hard, and Heavenly Father knows that. He loves us so much he doesn't want us to stay here one single second longer than we have to. When our time is up, he takes us home. It's hard for the rest of us, but it's a gift of love and peace to those who die.
Just know that as long as you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Don't take it for granted.”
That was burned into my soul, and I will forever be grateful for that lesson she taught me.
Because of this knowledge that I feel deep down in my core (how do I know? because I researched, prayed, and got my own personal answer) I don't fear death. I fear having those around me die, because of the pain and sense of loss that is inevitable. But I know death to be a merciful release from the pains and anguish from this life.
I do not wish to die, nor do I wish anyone else to die. But all I know is that because of what I believe, I can find peace and comfort in dark times.
And for this, I am grateful beyond words.
So, to those whose lives are affected by this tragedy, my heart goes out to you. I hope that good can somehow come from this experience, and that we can all hold our loved ones a little closer this holiday season and remember the true meaning of Christmas.