Today was supposed to be a normal day. Children were supposed to go to school and learn. Whisper to each other to speculate about whether or not they were on the “nice” list this year. Rip a paper chain, signifying one day closer to a time that is magical and full of wonder.
But for some children, this was not the reality. For some, it was a horrifying experience that will forever impact the way they live their life. For some, it was confusing and scary, with many questions left unanswered. For some, their young, precious life was senselessly torn away from them.
I don’t know any of these victims. But what I do know is that I am connected to them. As Americans, as students, and most importantly, as a human being. And as I tried to get through the rest of my work day with a heavy heart, tears in my eyes, and glued to any news source I trust – I can’t imagine the pain and suffering the families and friends of anyone affected by this could possibly feel.
Judging from my Twitter and Facebook feeds, this tragedy is making us all feel. We feel anger. We feel hatred. We feel deep sadness. Some of us can’t even describe what we’re feeling – especially those who have children and know what that sort of bond is like.
The feeling that we cannot lose sight of in the midst of this unspeakable tragedy is love.
When I was crowded with my co-workers around a computer screen looking for solace in the words of the President, this was a theme that was reflected. He said:
This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help, because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours.
So as you make sense of this tragedy, I’d ask that you remember to love. I’d ask that you gather the facts, but don’t obsess over those responsible. I’d ask that you seek solutions, not place blame.
Finally, I’d ask that you tell someone that you love them. Because as we were all shown today, you never know when you won’t have the opportunity to do it again.