This October we mourned the plight of the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
This Thanksgiving our MN SCBWI members mourned the death of children’s book author, Sandy Humphrey, in a house fire. And now, another “Sandy” draws us to our knees — the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Our sympathy, love, and prayers reach out to offer consolation to those affected by all three tragedies.
All three events have impacted us — yet, this most recent tragedy cuts us deepest. When a human hurts another human it hurts everyone. When a human kills defenseless children, it steals life, peace, and joy from all humanity.
After Hurricane Sandy, we could offer tangible help with rebuilding. When Sandy Humphrey and her husband, Brian, died, we could find comfort that no malice was inflicted upon them. But, there’s an innocence lost in Connecticut that can’t be recovered. In light of such unfathomable violence, what can we do?
Monsignor Stuart Swetland advises, “Hatred is an absence of love. To overcome hatred, replace it with love.”
This might have worked in a feel-good movie with the Staypuff Marshmallow Man leading the way, but how can we do this in real life?
Many of us saw an example of extraordinary love in a television news interview Robbie Parker, the young father of Emilie, one of the six-year-old shooting victims. He immediately looked past his own pain and offered his deepest condolences to all families directly affected, including the family of the perpetrator. He selflessly noted that he couldn’t imagine what they must be going through. Then he noted that Emilie would have been one of the first to stand before them and offer comfort. She was that kind of compassionate person, “not because of any parenting that my wife and I could have done…but because those were the gifts given to her by her Heavenly Father…The world is a better place because she has been in it…I’m so blessed to be her dad.”Such mercy and humility…It takes your breath away.
Those who believe in the power of prayer for the deceased will pray for the 27 victims. But, this father’s empathy challenges us to reach even deeper. We can and should pray for the soul of the perpetrator as well. Who knows the state of his heart? Only an irreparably wounded, emotionally bankrupt soul could do such a horrific act.
Yes, let’s hug the children and teachers in our lives, but let’s not stop there. Let’s shake the hand of a stranger and offer an ear to the lonely. Who knows what troubled soul may need to be filled with love today.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen