I found myself without words. Hearing of the tragedy in Connecticut, my heart broke. Actually, my heart didn’t just break, it shattered. In the fraction of a second the love, joy, peace, and hope of the Advent season crumbled as the mother in me cried at the deaths of 26 babies, the teacher in me froze as the horrific events of an elementary school were shared in excruciating details.
Who, God? Who could do such a thing? Who could find himself so separated from society that life itself had lost all value and meaning?
What, God? What really happened that Friday? What caused one man to succumb to an evil plan of destruction?
Where, God? Where are You? Where is Your love, joy, peace, and hope in the midst of such overwhelming grief and undeniable pain and suffering?
When, God? When will it get better? When will we be able to find comfort and joy in a world broken by sin?
How, God? How do we make sense of it all? How do we give meaning to an event that is beyond comprehension?
I shudder at the impact of sin. I shudder knowing that evil is real. I shudder remembering that it started with a whisper in the garden, words of temptation that became an act of disobedience. That story was followed by another about a son’s anger that became a deadly act of hatred.
I ache for answers. I ache to know what God would say to so many questions, those asked aloud and those I can’t put into words.
And now I pray. I pray that God might use me, might use us, to share love, to bring joy, to offer peace, and to promote hope in a world that is broken, in a world that is crying for justice and compassion.
Ann Curry, NBC News Correspondent, proposed 26 acts of kindness (#26acts) in response to her own question, “What can I do?” She wondered what we could do if we all committed 26 acts of kindness to honor the lost children and heroic teachers of Newton, CT.
As a Christian trying to follow God’s call this day, I wonder about taking Ann’s challenge one step further. What if we commit to 26 acts of kindness and one act of love, not the easy act of love, but the hard one? What if we each find a way to bridge a misunderstanding, to open a door slammed in anger, to find that moment of peace when every part of our being wants to shake in rage and frustration?
I’m not naïve enough to believe that a single act of love will overcome evil in the world, but I am challenged to find a way to make a difference, however small.
“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
Sy Miller and Jill Jackson
Jill Jackson yearned for peace, too. After living through wars and fears of nuclear bombs, after learning of families torn apart by conflicts, she believed the words to her song came through her and not from her. May it be so for us all!