My Promises to Newtown, CT

Are you tired of bloggers blogging about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT?  I’m not.

I began a post on Saturday, the day I learned of the terrible news.  But thankfully I didn’t publish it because it is truly atrocious: a confusing, wandering diatribe with no real conclusion.  Just to give you a hint at my emotions, here is the most coherent excerpt.

On my Facebook news feed, many of my friends posted meaningful and inspiring things.  Things like: hug your children, tell people you love them, live life to the fullest, and several other ideas along the same lines.

But I couldn’t.  I was incapable.

I thought about doing many of those meaningful things.  I really did.  I thought about it all day long but I just couldn’t make myself do it.

I hugged my kids the regular amount.  (I also yelled the regular amount.  You know.  Just for consistency.) I gave Kevin maybe one extra kiss, and it wasn’t super-romantic.  I did the laundry and the dishes and went to the grocery store.

I was, I am incapable of allowing the grief to penetrate me.  Go ahead and judge me.  It’s ok.  I judged myself all day.  I berated my dry eyes and my stone heart.  Why couldn’t I feel for these children, these parents, these families and this community?  This kind of plexi-glass emotionlessness is very unusual for me.  What was wrong with me?

Thankfully, over the past couple of days, my feelings towards the crisis have crystallized.  I’ve cried a lot more, but I’ve also found myself able to pinpoint exactly how I can help the community of Newtown, and specifically the grieving families.

Dear residents of Newtown,

Please accept these promises of goodwill.  They come from the bottom of my heart.

I will not feed the media frenzy.

I know everything I need to know about Newtown.  I know it is a tight-knit community and is a wonderful place to live.  I also know that a terrible tragedy occurred there.  I know people died, many of them your children.  I know your families are hurting and I have a list of your deceased family members so that I can pray for them.  I will firmly avoid any news-mongering that may encourage reporters to stay in Newtown.  I want your families to have peace.

I will not discuss politics in relation to Newtown.  Not yet.

There is a time to discuss gun control, care for mentally ill, and the culture of life.  That time is not now.  I don’t know when the time will come, but I am absolutely positive that declarations of the political variety will do nothing to undo the events of last Friday.  It won’t ease the pain and anguish of the upcoming funerals, and it won’t get anyone any closer to heaven.

I will allow you time to grieve.

Right now the nation is focused on you. Right now we feel your pain.  But in a few days or weeks or months, people will begin to talk of moving on.  I’m saying right here and now that only you, the mourners, can decide when that moment is.  Grief takes time.  You have my support in that.

I will pray.

I pray in all manner of ways.  Sometimes I meditate on the images I’ve seen of your laughing children.  Sometimes I meditate on the anguish of the photos captured as you learned of your child’s (or sibling’s, or spouse’s) death.  Sometimes I pray the rosary and sometimes, thanks to Cari, I pray for your deceased like this.  And, I admit, sometimes the only prayer I have is an anguished cry of “Why, Lord?  Why?”  (That’s ok, too.  At least I’m talking to Him.)  I know for many of you, your faith is being tested.  I will lend you some of mine in the meantime.

I will not forget.

I will continue to pray.  I will pray today and tomorrow and next week and next month and next year.  I will not forget you. Long after the media has left, you will have my prayers.

I will make a vow of non-violence.

I am one person.  But I can do one great thing.  I can vow to treat every human with the utmost dignity.  Enemy or friend, similar or different, everyone is a child of God.  (If any of my readers want to take the vow with me, check out the Pax Christi Vow of Nonviolence.)

I will live out my vocation. 

I am a wife and mother.  I will not neglect my spouse or my own children.  As Dwija said, the only way to my own sanctification is through the fulfillment of my vocation.  So I will begin there and hope that it is enough.  I will love your children through my children and I will offer up the drudgery of laundry, housework, and sibling fights for your suffering.

You have my most heartfelt condolences.
Wishing you the peace and love of Christ,
Micaela

Comments

  1. Beautiful, Miceala. Thank you for inspiring me.

  2. That is something concrete we can all hold on to. Very compassionate post, Micaela.

  3. Thank you Micaela! You said in words how i felt..that we need time to grieve and be uncomfortable. we don’t need to reason or try to make changes right now. yes let’s continue to pray and commit to nonviolence!

  4. These are such great, honest, and open feelings that really hit home. I too thought about “what” to do, or “what” to say. I too agree, now is the time for no-action, maybe just to pause, and not feed or fuel anything right now. KR K.