My thoughts ran a bit silly this morning as I enjoyed the stillness in my quiet house, the sun barely up as I pondered over my steaming bowl of creamed wheat and hot coffee. Not even Chester, our orange cat, or Nick, our Shetland Sheepdog had ventured down to join me. For a moment my brain functioned on that one cell of silliness that usually prevails over most of the other cells, an ode to my cereal forming over the puzzle of rhyming cream and steam, but only for a moment as the rest of my mind took over.
When I get the gift of a morning of peace, I find myself speaking to God, sitting back with my coffee as I wait for the hot cereal to cool enough to eat, and listening. Those moments bring clarity that I so often need. More often than not, a time of quiet with my thoughts turned toward my maker brings me to where I need to be, even if only for those few moments of contemplation. I had some questions to ask or really just I needed to digest more than a sweet bowl of creamed wheat.
All weekend I have been avoiding any processing of the horror that occurred last Friday. Everyone has been talking about it. While I haven’t totally stepped around it, really an impossible thing to do if one has been in contact with the world at all, I have been in a state of what can only be attributed to denial. After all, what happened is becoming commonplace in today’s America. The only thought in my head since Friday has been “not again”, selfish as that may be.
I tend to be that way. Selfish. A few years back, when a dear friend killed himself in the doldrums of manic depression, stabbing himself repeatly next to a cold river on a bleak January day, I went to the funeral home for the visitation. My blood turned cold when I saw him there in the casket, his skin ashen white from falling in the freezing river. When it came time to go to Paul’s funeral the next day, I couldn’t go. I just couldn’t. Something deep inside of me did not want to process his death, thought that maybe if I didn’t go the funeral he somehow would not be dead, that his suicide would be only an illusion. Avoiding might just make it go away.
That doesn’t work, does it?
In a sense, I just don’t want to admit that the America I live in is not the America I grew up in. I can’t say that bad things didn’t happen in America before the sixties, but what I have witnessed is a country that once recognized the importance of honoring God has turned about face. A nation that turns away is seeing the results of being a nation without God, and that is a society without a rudder. Those who need God most can not find him, listen to the demons that torment them instead. Our nation has been overtaken by evil and we don’t even know it.. or don’t care. The Sandy Hook tragedy reminds me that the nation I live in is becoming weak by choice, by forgetting God, and we don’t even see it . We don’t see what it has done to our souls.
We even mock those who state the obvious. How many thought Mike Huckabee’s statement on Friday was inappropriate?
“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability?”- Mike Huckabee
I have heard from more than one thinks Huckabee was inappropriate. I don’t think what he said is inappropriate, for what he is saying is that our nation truly has become a nation that does not want to face up to the reality. No one is responsible, is accountable, for their own actions.
Columbine was a shock, a symptom of hopelessness, a mentality that sees no where to turn when reality becomes too much to handle. So much has followed, enough that incidents like it are becoming commonplace. In a way, Columbine was as significant of a statement of what has happened to America, to this world, as September 11 was. Evil did not arrive on that day. It was already here. What both events brought to America was that this country is not immune to what the rest of world has been vulnerable to for much, much longer. The evil has just had taken longer to manifest itself. Maybe that was due to the resistance that a Godly nation had created. Honestly, I don’t know.
Would things have been different Friday if Adam Lanza knew God, if his life had been exposed in any shape or form to God’s power? Maybe. That is really not for me to say. I shouldn’t say.
My son expressed to me yesterday the same question I heard many times on Friday – “How could anyone be sick enough to do something like that?”. I ask myself the same question.
But I have tried to avoid asking myself that question. I can’t even ask God that question because really I already know the answer. If I don’t ask myself the question, maybe it won’t really be so. It is.
And ask myself what happens next?
There is a cold bowl of Cream of Wheat in my sink if anyone wants it. Watch out. I like it sweet.
I wanted to fit the Max Lucado prayer about the Connecticut shooting in here – but I don’t see where it fits into anything I have said. His thoughts don’t fit into my denial, but his prayer really sums it up nicely:
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.