Dear Newtown, Connecticut,
I don’t know you. I’ve never been to your town, I don’t know your friends and families and streets and memories. Like most people, I didn’t know you existed until today, and now my ears keep echoing with your name and your cries; now I close my eyes and picture your woods; now I think of you every time I inhale, exhale, breathe.
I don’t know you, but my heart shattered for you today in a way I can’t comprehend yet. I don’t have answers for you, only shared questions; I don’t have reasons for you, only resonating whys. I’m not there, I’m not with you, I’m not part of you tonight, but from 317 miles away, know that I am grieving with you.
I don’t have the intellect to understand what happened today. I don’t have the language to put into words what these monsters of grief and fear and anger and evil look like or feel like or taste like on your tongue.
Dear Connecticut, know that you are not alone tonight. Know that your pain matters, your fears matter, your anger matters. Know that the raw, gaping holes you are facing matter; and while those holes must feel so all-consuming tonight, know that there is hope. Know that it might be buried right now, but it is there. Know that no matter how broken you are in this moment, or will be in these dark hours and days and months and years to come, that there are Hands that will hold you together no matter how much you are falling apart. There is Peace that can fill every aching, burning crevice in your heart and your soul. There is a Protector that is promising, “You will be safe in My arms.”
Dear children, know that there is still hope in the world. Know that evil doesn’t win, that fear doesn’t triumph, that safety still exists. Know that it’s OK to be lonely and it’s OK to be scared and it’s OK to be angry and it’s OK to be broken, but know that you are heal-able, you are mend-able, you are strong and you are loved and you will get through this.
Dear world, know that we are not alone tonight. Hug your children. Hug your family. Know that broken hearts and grieving mommies and daddies transcend all borders, all languages, all religions. Know that tragedy has no definition, but it has meaning; that when hurt of this magnitude hits, it is too much for any one school or community or town to manage all by itself, so it overflows and settles on each one of us. Know that we carry this burden together, and in that, we can help each other heal. Know that prayers, peace, healing, gentleness, love and goodness continue to live because we work to keep them alive, even in the darkest, most empty, most forsaken moments. Keep working. Keep hope alive. Keep going when your friends and neighbors can't do it by themselves.
Know that God is here. Know that He is catching each tear, comforting each sob, feeling each gasp deep within His own being. Know that your prayers are heard and treasured. Know that your loved ones are not lost, but being gently cradled. Know that no matter how angry you get at God or how far and fast you run from Him, He will never stop holding you close to His heart. He will never stop whispering, “I love you, dear child.”
Dear Newtown, Connecticut. I wish I had words stronger than I’m sorry, more meaningful than I’m praying. I wish I could make your children come back and your schools feel like safe havens and your hugs unbroken. I wish I could drive 317 miles so I could sit with you and tell you this tonight:
God lost his baby boy, too.
He is holding you now and will never let go;
He is promising to carry you.
Dear Newtown, Connecticut,
We will pray you through.