Death's Sting6:39 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.