Thoughts on Sandy Hook shooting

I never post late on a Sunday night but, according to various bloggers, either tomorrow (Monday, Dec 17) or Tuesday, Dec 18 is a Blogging Day Of Silence in honor of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. I don’t know which day it actually is, but I will just go ahead and forego posting either one of those days.

I’ve been thinking all weekend about what I should post about this.

First of all, of course, I am sad. There are no words. Many of my friends’ kids are starting school and these children were the age of their children, whom I see every week. The age of my niece, the very first child I have watched grow up from a baby.

I have read the I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother blog piece, and I have thought a lot about what it must be like to have such a violent and unpredictable son that you nevertheless love, and for whom you want to believe the best, and then you find in your last moments on earth that your trust was misplaced. Even before I knew he had documented mental issues, I was thinking about the kind of society we have created in which his mother and those around him were so isolated that they were not supported and he was not known well enough by anyone to be stopped. What a terrible isolation we have allowed in this society.

And, of course, the gun issue…why in God’s name does any private citizen need a semi-automatic weapon? Why do we even allow these to be sold to private citizens? For the armed services, understandable. For police officers. But a private citizen?! Do not even tell me that it is for hunting — a deer is not going to shoot back, you don’t need a semi-automatic weapon to obliterate a deer. No one can hang a rack of antlers when there are no antlers left.

Twitter was not a good place to be these past few days. The words that I would use to describe the reactions would be: horror, fear, despair, hopelessness, panic, followed by blame and anger.

I’m going to backtrack a little in my own life to give you some context for my reaction before I attempt the ridiculous task of trying to describe it. Most of my life I believed that I had to do and be a lot of things in order to control the world around me, so that things would go the “right” way — my way. The way I felt in my head that things should go. If something went wrong, it was my fault. If someone else was upset or unhappy or anything negative, I internalized it and blamed myself. Control is an illusion. It was always out of my grasp. After wallowing in several addictions for a few years, trying to cover up my inability to control everything, I let go of my stranglehold on life and gave up control. Gave it up to, as the 12 Step Programs say, A Higher Power. Every day since then has been tiny baby steps to continue giving up the need to control things. To let go and trust God more. It’s been an awesome journey, as He has never disappointed me. He is always there, and He is always enough.

I know that not everyone who reads this blog believes in God or Jesus, and I hope that this a place for everyone to learn to live consciously rather than a platform for my beliefs. But I will tell you that I did not panic, and I was not incapacitated with fear about the future when I understood what happened at Sandy Hook even thought it is indeed very close to every one of us. After all these years of practicing trusting in a God who is powerful and in control, when the unthinkable happened and we were all swamped with feelings of sadness and horror, I did not feel responsible for fixing it all right now or everything would shatter, if that even makes sense. My mind wasn’t overwhelmed with thoughts of the hundreds of ways I need to protect my own children from anything like this every happening because I know that I cannot. Nothing I can do can keep them safe from cancer, car accidents, or random acts of violence. These are evil things, but our God has overcome evil. If something like this happens to me or my family, my heart and mind might explode but my God will remain the same. My life will change but He never will.

Please hear me say that this does not mean I think what happened was OK or excusable or that it was “God’s will”. Hell, no. Literally. The heart of the God I read about in my bible was broken along with the parents and friends of those children on Friday. He knows what it is like to have a Son who He loves die a horrible death at the hand of evil men. But He also loves every human being so much that He allows us to have free will, despite how terribly we misuse that gift. Adam Lanza had free will. He used it for evil. God has an ultimate plan for evil, He will not allow it to continue forever. Adam Lanza is accountable for his actions, as we all are at the end of our lives. Perhaps Adam was mentally ill and incapable of making that kind of decision, but I also trust that God knows his heart.

I guess what I am saying is that, although I spent all weekend with a heavy heart, hugged my kids more tightly than ever, and had more than a few thoughts about gun control laws and mental illness, I felt comforted by God. Not that He has made anything better or that things will get better, but just that He is there. Crying with us. Sad for us and what we have done to this earth and this society. In spite of it all, He is present for my family and my community, no matter what evil is out there. Our job is to just keep fighting that evil, whatever that looks like for us our everyday lives. I also trust that He will show us how to fight that fight, and give us the strength to do it.

For me, for now, I think that means to keep showing my children how to live as Jesus lived, in love and peace and wisdom toward others. I will raise them that way as long as God sees fit for me to have them in my house. I cannot control if they choose to believe what I believe, but I can live in front of them and share with them. I guess a lot like I do with this blog. You can choose to do whatever you will with the things that I share. It’s OK. I trust that it is not my job to control the outcome.

As you can see, this is a post about my own personal state of mind, and not the way I think anyone else “should” feel. I am just sharing with you a small victory in my own life as I am slowly moving from a place where my mind was out of control to a place where, now, I can see peace seeping in. I pray this kind of Peace for everyone in our nation and our world.

NOTE: I have disabled comments on this post. If you have any questions about the faith aspect of this post, please feel free to contact me directly jenny {at} conscientiousconfusion {dot} com.