As the nation celebrates Thanksgiving and the world turns its attention to Christmas, the families in Newtown Connecticut are struggling with the first anniversary of a horrible event. On December 14, 2012, a sunny, Friday morning, a mentally ill young man blasted through the security doors and shot and killed 20 children and 6 adults. The joys of the holiday are significantly dimmed, if not absent for many. And how could it be otherwise?
Prayers for and from the families impacted by this terrible tragedy have been many. As they come to me, filled with anguish, I offer this to you.
Those who lost their lives felt no pain. They were not afraid. How is that possible, you ask? I brought their souls home to me before the shooting began.
Think of your home. It’s a structure. It shelters and protects you. You decorate it with things you like and the attic becomes filled with memories. But your home is not who you are. You are separate from that structure. The body you live in while on this journey, houses your soul. You decorate with clothing you like and you store your memories in your attic. Your soul is the essence of who you are. It’s what makes you different from everyone else but it is separate from your body.
If, while you’re in your home, your house is suddenly damaged in some way, you are likely to be hurt and afraid. If, while you are away, a window is broken, you don’t experience either pain or fear. Inconvenienced or annoyed, perhaps. Sorrow if something of value is also broken, but your body doesn’t suffer.
So it is with your soul. If your soul is in your body at the time your body is injured, you feel the fear and distress. A fall, a broken bone, an illness…you’ve all experienced such things. However, if your soul is not in your body at the time of the event, it is like that window being broken in a house while you’re away. You understand what happened and you feel the sadness and sorrow that such an event brings but you do not feel discomfort and you’re not afraid. I brought the souls of each of those lost to me prior to the shooting. They know what happened but they felt neither terror nor agony.
Please know their souls are here, with me. They are healthy and happy. They do not miss you the same way you miss them because they are with you always. When you feel a sudden memory overtake you, they are with you. When you hear their voice in your mind, they are with you. When you know with absolute certainty that if you turned quickly enough, you’ll see them standing behind you, they are with you.
And when you feel absolutely empty, I am with you. When you feel alone and abandoned, I am with you. I am always with you.
Thanksgiving and Christmas will not be the joyous holidays they used to be for the families in Newtown. It will never be the same as it was before the shooting. It will turn, eventually, from a marker of a terrible reminder. It is a long journey that has smooth roads and rough patches. Know that whatever road you’re traveling, I am with you. You are never alone.