Today there was a school shooting.
I’m a former teacher and a mom so these tragedies strike so many emotional chords with me that I don’t even know how to process the events as they unfold in the media.
Last year, I wrote a blog post one week after the Sandy Hook incident and I’m going to share a portion of it here at Rocky Parenting because what I typed then is exactly how I feel today. I can’t offer any sage wisdom or explanations for why these horrible things happen. I only know that there are a lot of broken people in this world and I have to focus on those things that I can control and let go of those that I cannot.
When it comes to school shootings, I am not exactly sure how I should react.
My first reaction is to consume every bit of media remotely related to the subject. But is that honoring? Does it do any good? It might make me feel better in the short term because, unconsciously, I somehow think that if I read about or talk about the affected, then they are not forgotten and their deaths were not in vain. Except, is my obsession with information more about me and less about them?
I also want to find fault. I want there to be a reason for this senseless event. Blaming makes me feel better because there’s a tiny part inside of me that thinks if I can figure out why the shootings transpired, I can keep it from happening in my world. But, logically, I know that won’t work.
Another reflexive response is to hunker down with my family in an effort to keep them from harm. It’s a fear-based reaction that plays directly into my control-freak nature. And it’s useless.
You see I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that, just as I have no control over the length of my own life, I also have no control over the length of my children’s lives.
That’s really hard to admit.
Yes, I feed them healthy food and make them wear bike helmets; but when push comes to shove, I don’t have power over everything that happens to them. However, I believe in a God who does have that authority.
A couple years ago, the body of a missing 12-year-old girl was found in an irrigation ditch by my house. Violence was close to home that day and I knew at that moment that I could no longer bear the burden of my children’s lives by myself.
After they feel asleep that night, I wept over them and wrote this prayer: Father, these are not my girls, they are yours. I want to hold them and protect them and never let anything bad happen to them but I know that’s not your plan so I release them to you. I will do my best to care for them for as long as you allow (and I hope you know that I hope it’s a really long time). Thank you for letting me be a part of their lives and watching them grow into the women you want them to be.
By trusting God with my children, I let go of them. I am less tired now, I feel less panic when horrendous things happen in the world, and, most importantly, I can be thankful for each moment we have together – knowing that they have been scripted by the One who created us.