As some of you know, I was a teacher for five years in the second largest school district in our state. I taught 9th grade Physical Science in a school of about 900 students. The events on Friday in Connecticut were close to home for me. I've been the teacher in a locked-down classroom. I've had drug dogs search my room and hallways. I've been threatened by a student. I've witnessed parents threaten teachers. I've sat in my desk and thought "Where could we go? How many kids could I get out the window?"
I've looked into the eyes of a student that were devoid of all affect or feeling. And I've felt the skin crawl on my scalp knowing something was going to happen. I've sat in a student's desk every morning and prayed for him and for us. Prayed that he wouldn't smash a piece of lab equipment and cut his lab partners or his own wrists before I could get there. I've watched and listened to tear-stained parents tell us that they've tried everything but until he hurts someone, there's nothing else that can be done. And we look at each other and wonder "Will it be us or them?"
Many people's reaction to the school shooting on Friday is to increase gun control. "If guns were illegal then this wouldn't have happened!" Perhaps. There's always that chance, we'll never know. But legislation does not prevent hate. Or evil. Or mental illness.
There has been evil in the world long before there were guns. From the time of Cain and Abel, hatred and evil and violence have been a part of this world. Legislation will not change that.
As a Christian, I know that God is good. And He is not just good when things are going great. He is good.
Friends of our family have a miracle baby. Truly, a miracle baby. He wasn't supposed to live more than 48 hours. He continues month after month to do all the things his parents were told he would never do. He is a miracle. And many people say, "Oh, God is so good!" And I think, "Would you still say that if he would have died, just as the doctors predicted?" Because God is good, in every circumstance, He is goodness and light and love. In times of darkness and suffering, I hold tight to Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." All things. ALL THINGS. Even the most horrific. Even beautiful children slaughtered in their school. God can and will overcome this evil.
Our farm name is Morning Joy Farm. From the 30th Psalm, verse 5: "Weeping may occur for a night, but joy comes in the morning!" Right now we are weeping in this dark night. And they are heart-broken sobs. God hears those sobs, and He cries with us. John 11:35: "Jesus wept".
There will be activist groups, there will be politicians who propose legislation, rules, to attempt to stop something like this from happening again. But laws will not change this. Just as you cannot legislate away hate, you cannot legislate kindness, compassion, and love.
There is far more kindness, compassion and love in this world than there is hate. Look for it friends, share it with each other. With people you know. With people you will never know. The kindness in your world is never reported on the news. And if it is, investigations are done to show that the kindness that was shown wasn't really a kindness after all because the person didn't really deserve it. (I'm referring to the wonderful officer in NYC who bought a homeless man shoes and then news outlets dug into the homeless man's history and found out that he wasn't homeless and that he was a veteran and should have been using his VA benefits.) I refuse to bow to that evil-mongering. I refuse to believe that there is nothing else in this world.
So what do we do? How do we move forward? Hug your people. I don't know who your people are, they may have many different forms and titles. But hug them. And put down your phone and your iPad and talk to people. Encourage one another. Look out for each other. And if you'd like to be an activist, campaign for a better mental health system. Because "there's nothing else we can do until he hurts someone" is not a treatment plan.
I don't know why this didn't happen in our school. It was a possibility more than once. But today is a gift, treat it like one. (And to quote Ann Voskamp) "Who am I to deserve another?"
Love each other.