Death's Sting

6:39 PM

I found out between a game of pool and studying for the next day's Spanish final. Twenty kids, seven adults dead.

Nothing horrible ever happened to me, so the things that do happen I remember distinctly -- as the seven-year-old watching the repeated clip of a plane flying into a tall building, as a twelve-year-old watching the house down the street burn, as a fifteen-year-old overhearing the news of my dead elementary Sunday school teacher, as the college student googling a gun shooting somewhere in Connecticut.

Twenty kids dead, mostly kindergartners.

I used to work with kindergartners. My youngest brother is a kindergartner. I get kindergartners. I don't get the people that shoot them.

Finals and packing and traveling home occurred at the same time the talking heads and Facebook statuses decried and supported gun control and offered condolences. I haven't had a chance to read the debates or watch the news. But I get the gist: nobody knows how to talk about this. Everybody does, but nobody knows. Because nobody can.

I certainly can't.

The idea of death is something I've fought off and on. I like the idea of heaven and hallelujahs. Still, when somebody dies, when tragedy happens, that's not what I'm thinking about. The consolation may be there, but it doesn't take away the horror of death -- especially when it happens unexpectedly.

Death isn't unexpected, I suppose. It's guaranteed. And it still manages to hurt and horrify. The very expectation mocks us: death is normal and it isn't right.

So I can't argue about gun control or swallow consolation pills about heaven. There isn't anything anybody can say -- not even Christian things, not even truth -- that takes off the edge of death. Hurt goes deeper than that.

At the same time, I know that the God of universe shares the same opinion. The same God who broke the chains of death and now mocks its sting also wept uncontrollably at the grave of His best friend -- even though He raised him from the dead a few moments later. That gives me license to just remain in shock. Not to figure things out. Not to advance propaganda for any side. Just to mourn, to grieve, to gape my mouth at the grossness and wrongness of death.

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3 impressions

  1. Tue thoughts, Bailey ... there really isn't much that anyone can say. I wish I could go there and give those families a big hug and some hot tea. My youngest brothers were kindergartners not long ago, and looking at their faces makes my heart hurt for those little children's parents and grandparents and siblings. What an awful, awful thing.

    I hope you're doing well yourself ... welcome home and welcome back to Blogger - we've missed you. :-)


  2. When I was forced to stop and ponder it, instead of pushing it away, I got angry. A hundred things went wrong that day; a million things could have been done differently. Frustration built inside me until I wanted to scream, and tears came out instead. But the thing is, no matter how much we hate it, it happened.
    Stuff like this happens because this world is messed up with sin, and it's okay to hate it! After all, when things get bad in this world, we long for something better and cry out for something more. God wants us to desire Him, not stake our hopes in this fallen world.
    My anger and grief over this is another step toward aching for Christ's return.

  3. Such powerful words.


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