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December 17, 2012

I, like you, am trying to process the unimaginable. My inchoate thoughts stumble and trip while mining the land of imaginable, trying to piece make sense of the jagged, bloody, horrific details of a 20-year-old killing 20 elementary school children and six adults. I wish my mind would stop  because it will never make sense.  

Tragedy, however, forces us to use a different lens, one which brings to focus previously unthinkable realities. 



Morning dawned today with heavy cloud cover and spitting rain. As I made lunches, Abby and Henry got ready for school, laughing, bickering and playing as usual. Abby recently learned Dona Nobis Pacem in chorus (one of my favorite songs, ever); she taught Henry the song and now they both sing and hum it as they move through their days.

This morning, however, in the quiet kitchen (no morning news on today), they stopped playing and sang Dona Nobis Pacem with the clarity and the soul-piercing way that only children can. Clearly and loudly, they sang:

Dona Nobis Pacem

I imagined their song-filled prayers lifting from their hearts to the souls of children just like them, who walked into school on Friday and never walked out.

We finished brushing and packing and doning boots. The time had arrived for us to leave for school. We got into our tain-covered white minivan and drove the short, soggy distance to their elementary school. Backpacks sat at the feet of my children. Rain fell. My heart fell. I played Yo Yo Ma’s soulful, searing rendition of Dona Nobis Pacem during our ride.

I turned into the parking lot and proceeded to the drop-off line. I smiled. I touched them. I told them I loved them. I pulled over and parked to watch as they walked away from me and into school. Hot tears fell. I felt the sobs clamoring to be released as I continued to watch their small, back-packed bodies enter their school. A uniformed police officer stood guard at the door. I watched Abby’s purple coat and Henry’s gray coat disappear into the building. 

I thought of the parents in Newton, CT, who did this same thing on Friday. I thought of their now empty car seats and empty backpacks and empty coats, never to be worn again. I sobbed for them. I held them in my heart. And sent the supplication again, this time through a 40-year-old’s tears, 

Grant Us Peace

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2012 2:25 pm

    I think you know how much I love this song. Tears falling as I read this. This morning was hard for me too. xoxo

  2. December 18, 2012 9:58 am

    I have been listening to this hymn too. Grant us peace. All of us.

  3. altaredspaces permalink
    December 31, 2012 10:24 am

    It is wonderful to be with you again. To hear this song. A hymn. Holiness. You always bring holiness in such a fundamental way. What a gift.


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