In our lives we have all seen tragedies…each one seeming to over shadow the last. The first I remember was the bombing of the Murrah Federal Buildings in Oklahoma. I don’t think any of us will ever erase the image of the firefighter carrying the wounded child out of the smokey building. It’s the first time I remember being aware of a real living creature containing only pure evil inside. We have gone on to see countless tragedies since then…, the embassy attacks in Africa, Columbine, The Twin Towers and Virginia Tech. These are all interspersed with our own personal tragedies and unfortunately there are so many tragedies and disasters that could be listed. But now, and most horrendously, our country grieves for Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary school and the families left to deal with losing their children in what we all believe should be an environment where our children are safe…in their school. This is one more tragedy to add to a list none of us want to see grow.
Somehow, this one seems the most cruel. A man shooting babies is beyond what we can begin comprehend. That evil should touch our littlest ones is not something, we as parents, ever envision for our precious children. The cruelty that entered Sandy Hook Elementary school is the work of an evil, vile, disgusting piece of “humanity.”
Stan sat glued to the ever looping images of the children being lead from the school and into safety. Zach came home with his head hanging down and his shoulders slumped, telling me how the kids at school couldn’t tear themselves away from what happened to the youngest students. He said his entire school was following the news closely and most kids went on to google other instances of the most vile parts of humanity capturing the attention of the entire nation. For Zach, this is the first time he’s been aware of the evil that lurks within our world. Lucas and Claire both heard about what happened but they had no idea the children who were killed were babies.
At some point in the evening, Stan and I counted our blessings and realized how very fortunate we are. We tried to change the subject several times but our conversation always turned back to Connecticut. The sadness of the day pervaded our entirety.
While Stan and I kept trying to change the subject, I decided it was time to send out some messages of love. I texted my mom and dad with virtual hugs and kisses. I texted several friends to let them know they meant the world to me. And that’s when Stan said “it’s out of tragedies like this that some good things shine through. People start reaching out to one another in ways we normally don’t.”
When Stan said that I decided I needed a message of hope. I needed to watch “The Polar Express” with its message of hope, love and belief. I needed to believe in the power of love over evil.
I watched the end of the movie with a tightness in my chest and tears streaming down my cheeks, knowing there are families in Connecticut whose belief has been altered. But I also watched with a glimmer of hope in my heart. Hoping that by all of us choosing to believe in the purity of love we can overcome the evil living amongst us.
“Believe” it’s the one word punched into the little boy’s ticket at the end of the “The Polar Express.” It may be the most difficult word to comprehend at a time like this but it’s the one word we need to all grasp with all of our might. We need to believe in each other. We need to believe in love overcoming evil. We need to believe that rights will be wronged. And we need to believe in the power of faith to heal broken hearts.
Before the children in “The Polar Express” get back on the train the little boy asks Santa for a bell from Santa’s sleigh. He wants to remember and believe. I think it is time for all of us to take out our bells and make them ring in honor of the children whose lives were lost to evil yesterday. I think we need to make them ring with a mighty peal so that we can always believe.
“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it felt silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”