Damn the fact that the news site in front of me says that 20 children have been shot to death. Damn the fact that I can’t decide whether my heart would be more broken if it was 21. Damn the fact that I even have to consider that question.
Damn the fact that my sister is crying imagining the students she hasn’t yet taught, and my mother is crying because of her love of children. God, bless them for their love. And damn the thing that broke their beautiful hearts.
Damn the fact that I was reading opinion pieces on major sites within hours of the news breaking. Damn the fact that they were so easy to write because we knew it was going to happen.
Damn the fact that I’ve already read dozens of posts and tweets trying to make sense of this. Good people are bawling for gun control while other good people wish that there was a gun there to stop this and other good people think that it’s not quite time for the conversation. Who’s right? I don’t know. I’m just not that smart, and my heart’s too heavy to even ask that question today. Damn the fact that the conversation even needs to happen.
Whatever madness, or rage, or illness, or who knows what was the cause of this, damn it, God. Literally, God: damn it. Declare it accursed. Banish it. Abolish it. I don’t even really know what “it” is. I don’t even know what I mean by “damning” it, except that every fiber of my being cries out against whatever IT is. IT is as good as I can do to get my mind around evil like this. So whatever “it” is, damn It.
I can’t do it anymore. The cycling pictures of children walking away holding hands and sobbing people are too much for me.
I close the screen of my computer and collapse into my prayer chair, my 21st century Sinai, my “high place” where I go to meet God. And with a few bitter sobs of my own, the words rip forward from my depths. I cry out to the God of Advent in a phrase from the ancient depths of my faith, with a newness as raw as the winter wind and jagged as shattered glass:
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget us forever?”