"...help me stay openhearted..."

4 years ago

**I know that others have, can, and will write better words about what happened in Newtown. I also know that it's okay for me to process. To weep with those who weep. To commit to honoring what was lost by honoring what I have.**


My prayer: Send love & light to those in pain and help me stay openhearted while I manage my own fear & anger. -Brene Brown


We're all processing, right?

I was at a Christmas party Saturday night, and ended up in little tears, again. Processing. My kids are safe at home. They'll wake up tomorrow. But the brokenness that made headlines Friday is devastating, and I'm making a point to let myself work through it.

Maybe you are too.

What happened in Newtown on Friday is a terrible, horrible, painful unifier. No healthy person thinks it's okay to gun down roomfuls of 6 and 7 year-olds. We can disagree on an incredible number of things, but that is just not one of them. It's ingrained in us. Protect those who can't protect themselves.

As I learned about what had happened, my first (foolish) thought was, "Well, maybe I'll homeschool after all." I was quick to catch myself there, to remember that, while there are some reasonable reasons to homeschool, letting fear drive decisions is never a good (or godly) thing.

If I was tempted to think I could protect my kids by keeping them out of school, I was snapped out of it by remembering another tragedy from Friday morning. A friend and former coworker, Chamberlain Branch, was killed in a car accident late Thursday night. He was hit by a man fleeing police in a stolen car. He is survived by a wife and three kids.

The truth is, we can't keep ourselves or our kids totally safe. We are charged with caring for them well, but to think we could ever protect them fully is to give into an illusion. False comfort.

That's not to say there aren't things we can do to help, like examine our approach to mental illness and so on. But that's not my thing; I'm not a policy writer. I'm a mom, Christian believer and (say wha?) blogger. So here's what I know. Here's where my heart kept going Friday (and Saturday and Sunday and so on).

If I can't protect them, what can I do to prepare them?

What can I do to help them manage their fear? What can I do to help them be aware of what's going on around them? What can I do to assure them that, no matter what, they are fearfully made, and loved with wild abandon?

It's an enormous task, but I know I'm not alone in it. And, for myself, how in the world can I stay openhearted, as Brene Brown said?

I read in a blog post the other day that a member of the Newtown community wondered if the rest of the country was continuing on after "just another news story."

Sister, this is not another news story. It is a terrible unifier. As we move forward, I'll be praying for the mommies, the daddies, the sisters and the brothers. The extended families, and the communities that love like family. I'll be praying for the schoolmates, the teachers, the first responders, and the pastors in that community. I'll be praying for those who need help, and for their families. The list goes on and on, doesn't it?

I'll be praying that somehow, by the grace of God, I find a way to honor what was lost by honoring what I have. A way to communicate daily to my own children what I desperately want them to know at their core. That, as the Jesus Storybook Bible says, they are (we are) loved with a

never stopping,

never giving up,


always and forever love.

Cross posted at



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