The word “why” is going to ripple through the air and through thoughts for quite a while before it settles down again like a dry leaf. It will be kicked up again soon enough by events small and large.
“Why” stands there open without boundaries or limitations. I have stood out in the open air and asked it to the sky many times. “why?”
There is no answer.
People of faith scrape together what they can and try to come up with an answer but for me, at least ,it never suffices. In their efforts they try to explain God‘s mind. If there is to be humor found in any of this I find that funny. What God knows He holds like cards, close to His chest.
Life as we know it seems to operate on a continuum with what we perceive as beginnings and endings. But which came first the chicken or the egg?
None of the explanations, platitudes or well intentioned words fill the space in our heart when we loose a loved one. It does not answer the why that hangs in the air when their ending precedes our own and we are left to await our own without them.
We can get angry at the circumstances that took our loved one. We can store up venom and hatred towards doctors, or drivers or guns or gravity and rant but it does not answer the “why.”
Sadly in some quiet space we realize that all the things we are angry about have their good uses too – are necessary – yet they are mixed up in our loss and we don’t know why.
Last night I thought about the first responders to the scene at that school in Connecticut. For all they knew they would be running into the line of fire, but they did not hesitate. The rest of their lives they will picture what they found. I thought about those who had to tend to the dead and the dying. They chose to serve their community, but never imagined it would include this type of horror.
I thought about the grandmother and brother of the young man who is thought to have carried this out. The grandmother has lost her child and grandchild and now is burdened with grief and guilt and shame. The brother whose name was mistaken for his brother’s has lost his mother and brother and is now irreparably linked to this. Why? Neither of these people are to blame, but they will be scrutinized because the media thinks they have a right no know. With all their searching the why will never be answered. Never.
The mind who conceived this massacre is stilled. Maybe he has written things that will shed a little light on the events for some, but it does not plug that open ended question.
I remember the evening after our son died. I remember going through the motions and getting ready for bed. I remember tears and staring out into the dark sky and asking the universe – why?
The coroner will provide the grieving parents with the gut wrenching details of exactly how their child died but they will always wonder why.
So not only do we live with the grief, but we live with the why.
I am so sorry for the loss of the parents and families. I am so sorry that the assailant was so troubled and chose this course of action.
When our son died the newscasters showed up at our house. The media seems to think they have a right to get up close into our tear stained face and broadcast our personal pain. I was angry at first. My husband refused to come outside. Finally I told them they could record my voice and my shadow as I talked about our beautiful son. I have the broadcast taped on my DVR but I have never watched it again after it was broadcast. I don’t know who it helped and it certainly didn’t change a thing.
I worry that we have become so used to being allowed into those intimate private spaces and that our news service providers feel entitled. But that is a subject to be discussed and considered by all of us as consumers of that product. Regardless it changed nothing.
Lives have ended. Lives that remain are changed as long as they live. People will patch up what they can and do their very best but in all of it they can never truly ultimately answer why. I pray that all the families, civil servants, teachers, friends and community there in that small town can gain strength from each other and endure. It is what we do. And I don’t know why.