Sometimes there are no words. The shock is too great, the horror too numbing, the pain to deep to be articulated. Yet we are human and words are our medium, our means of communicating and connecting. Words are the tools we have to reach each other and reassure us that we are not alone.
And so we fumble about, trying to find words that will say, “I don’t understand this, and I don’t know how to help, but let us hold each other and share this grief.”
As the mother of both a vibrant six-year-old daughter and a 20-something-year-old son who has been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, I am utterly at a loss in the face of last week’s tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I grasp at the words of others, and share them in the hope that they will provide some shred of comfort – not to those directly involved, I know, but perhaps to people like myself, standing dazed in the wider circle around the disaster scene.
I hang onto the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: In me there is darkness, but with thee there is light. I am lonely, but thou leavest me not. I am restless, but with thee there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with thee there is patience; thy ways are past understanding, but thou knowest the way for me.
And Henri Nouwen: Ours is certainly an age of immense confusion, radical upheavals, and emotional and moral bewilderment. But in the midst of it all there is heroism, kindness, sacrifice, and a deep yearning for belonging.
And Madeleine L’Engle: Tragedies are consequences of human actions, and the only God worth believing in does not cause the tragedies but lovingly comes into the anguish with us.
And Frederick Buechner: God is not an answer man can give...God himself does not give answers. He gives himself.
And most tightly I cling to the Word Himself: Emmanuel: God is with us.