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Life is a gift not a guarantee (Newtown, CT)

December 16, 2012

Grief is such a strange emotion, grief from afar even stranger. We watch tragedy unfold on the screen before us. Contorted wet faces with puffy eyes and cracking voices speak to us in a language both near and distant.

Distant because the tragedy is in an unknown town felt by unknown people, and it looks so much like the TV show we watched last week. It’s hard to place this news story in reality, this story delivered the same way entertainment comes to us. It’s hard to place in our minds. But these are not actors. Twenty kindergarteners were gunned down in their classroom on Friday, and six teachers with them.

No warning.

Not one of them considered the possibility that they would die at school. Not one parent thought they might be sending their child into violence and death. They were going to school, a place we’ve all been.

That school had just been equipped with a new security system. The security didn’t work. The killer still got in. And that leaves us more undone.

How do we protect when protection fails?

We can’t.

How is it okay that our systems failed?

It’s not.

But this is where we live.

Life is a gift not a guarantee.

And this is where the nearness of that distant tragedy gets under our skin. We see images on the screen and imagine the horror happening in our town.

To people we know.

To people we love.

To us.

And that thought cuts us to the quick.

We realize we’re all in this together, with those we love and with those unfamiliar faces on our screens. It sinks in that something terrible has happened to 26 families.

To all of us.

And we hug each other closer as we ache for those with empty arms.

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