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It is difficult for me to look at any list containing such words as those above, without viewing them through the prism of brokenness of all the lives lost or affected in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday.

********************

Just last Sunday, I lifted him up
so he could place the star on the top
of the tree;
laughing and scolding him for
taking so much time – “to get it perfect,”
you grinned. “You’re getting heavy!” I sigh.

“Almost too big for me to carry!” 

Again and again, pictures of horror
are unfolded before our eyes; we listen to the
talking heads, repeating, repeating, repeating
the tragic words of death, rampage, terror,
the blasts at the end of our street, our world.

“Hurry up, darling!”  You’ll be late for school!”
I wipe the milky mustache from her mouth, and
lift her down from her chair.  She rushes 
from me, hoisting her “Dora the Explorer”
book-bag over her tiny shoulder. “I’ll see you when
you get back home,” I call to her as she waves
good-bye.

With glassy eyes, we watch the scene,
feeling the distance between here and there,
between yesterday and today; trying not
to hold too close to heart the vacant,
unbelieving faces, afraid of coming undone.
Yet longing to be close enough to console,
to hold, to wrap our love around them all.
to lighten the crushing sorrow, the
growing anger and disbelief.

What will I do now?  All the toys, wrapped
in haste with slick and shiny paper,
a chore sometimes, amid the pressing tasks,
all the holiday busy-ness.
I’ll just use that Santa bag from last year;
that’s good enough, besides, he won’t even
notice it, as he rips out the tissue to find
“Just what I  always wanted!” buried inside.

Good schools, a suburban town –
richer than some, but ordinary enough.
A nice place to live, away from the crowds,
the city.  Visible, yet known for the
small-town anonymity, our town, the home
to where we return, escaping from the
annoying bustle of those grasping at
upward mobility, the itch to get ahead.

How could I have ever thought you too heavy?
So light in my arms now. Light enough for
a thousand stars atop a thousand trees.

I see you, but it is not you. You
will not come home again, bounce up
the porch steps, dumping “Dora” at the door.

How could I have been too busy
to do my best?  Was I always like that?
Did you know how much you are loved?
Did you know that you were, and will always be
“Just what I always wanted!”

********************

In a season of joy, we find ourselves in the midst of sadness.  Some ask, “So, where is God? How does God allow this to happen?” The answer is that God was there with those on the receiving end of madness, and God was there with the one consumed by madness. As sure as there was terror, there was love. And God did not allow such a thing to happen.  We did.

It is long past time to say, “enough. . .”

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