Even a broken heart can love…
December 14, 2012
Children. Five to ten years old.
I thought of my two nieces within those ages. Couldn’t imagine what it would be like to never see their smiles again, hear their wonderful giggles, look at them and be reminded why I still have hope. It’s always in the eyes of the child, you know. Hope. And, tonight, families in Newtown, CT have had all this and more, lifetimes of promise, taken away on what was a mid-December Friday for all, and the next to last Friday before Christmas for many. It made it hard for me to even think of wrapping gifts for those nieces of mine; it made me feel like everything should just be canceled. Maybe if we stopped the holidays, maybe if we held our breath a little bit longer – the pain would lessen.
Truth is, there is no stopping the holidays and it feels as though there isn’t enough air to breathe right now, let alone hold my breath. And the pain, the pain I feel is nothing compared to our friends and their families, who with all of America mourn their loss.
Yes, as President Obama said, “Our hearts are broken.” Again. But, somehow more this time. Somehow, more.
I will not attempt to make sense of any of this. Truly, I haven’t a clue as to how I might do that. Without question, the one man who did this was terribly ill, and his actions beyond horrendous. The lives that were shattered today did not need to be broken any more than our hearts; yet, we all would take a broken heart and more to undo what has been done.
We know that once sleep finally comes for those who grieve – and with waking what was thought to be a nightmare is again real – we have to find ways to help. We need to. This is not voluntary; this need to help is from deep inside us. And, honestly, each of us will have to find a path to be there in our own ways. Alone and together, we will need to find some response that embraces our greatest fears, so that those who suffer are not alone.
For those of us of a faith tradition, we will rely on community, prayer, readings, and other practices, knowing that these children and adults have been embraced in a special way by the loving God who grieves with us. Still, even with a deep and abiding faith, many of us will ask, “Why? Why, God?” I will be one of those who will lament with those words, as well as seek comfort for others and me in the God who knows what it is to lose a son – and a son who knows the glory of resurrection in which these young ones and the adults who cared for them now find peace.
Our peace will come more slowly. Still, each of us can overcome the power of such sick acts by not letting the illness take us, as well. We can reach out and be present, if not to anyone in Newtown, CT then to each other. We can care a bit more for the ones closest to us, the ones we otherwise would not see, those with whom we need reconciliation – or the ones we wish to avoid.
We can still love with our broken hearts, and it is the loving that will mend us and others.
It is the Love that many of us remember in Advent, as we await the birth of a child that has changed the world through the same power of God’s Love. It is the most important thing we have now, just as it always is – but, especially now. If we share it enough with one another, even these wounds will be bound up and healed. Yes, even these.
And then, however we can, we have to make sure this or anything like it ever happens again. Ever. Love can do that, too.
Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, Minister Evangelist