2017
two thousand seventeen
Twenty-Seventeen
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By John Addyman

  My God, the horror.
   You put your kids on the bus in the morning.
   They’re bright and excited about this being Friday and Christmas coming so soon. They see the lights in town at night, they see the decorations in their houses going up, everyone is so busy…and the kids are ramping up their anticipation of all things musical and beautiful at this time of year.
   In school, the teachers are smiling. They’re happy, too.
   The joy each child brings into the school is infectious, life-affirming. Their principal welcomes everyone. A warm smile. She knows so many kids by name. She compliments them on Thursday evening’s holiday music show.
   So many angelic voices.
   And then the blackness descended on Newtown, CT.
   The shots. The frantic teachers risking their lives to get kids under cover. The kindergarteners who spent their last seconds on earth in sheer blinding fright with no one to comfort or protect them.
   A madman with some compelling internal momentum to do great, evil harm and save a final act for himself, preventing anyone from punishing him.
   Tonight in Newtown there are young parents who will go into a bedroom in the middle of the night. A bedroom filled with dolls and puppies, or robots and aliens. They will look at an empty bed one more time, hoping that Christ in his ultimate mercy has saved one major miracle for a family who so loves this child…that somehow, this one child was spared, and is sleeping peacefully. 
   In the morning, so many in Newtown will wake up and hope, for a precious few seconds, that it’s Friday all over again, and what happened was a terrible, awful dream but nothing more.
   But none of that will be.
   In the cold of a December night, 20 small bodies lie on the floor of their classrooms. Their teacher is there with them. And some aides. They wait for someone to take them to their mommies and daddies. From somewhere beyond us, they have been welcomed to peace and light, but can certainly feel the pain of the ones they leave behind.
   And the pain in Newtown is deep.
   My wife and I moved here from Newtown five years ago. We had lived there for nine years.
   It’s a town that is achingly, New England-post-card beautiful in so many ways. It’s an affluent community with tight zoning laws that ensure the town will look a lot like it does now in 2112. The town hall shows movies for $2 on weekends and you can sit in the balcony. Parking lots are full of BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Audis – and that’s what the teens are driving. A favorite haunt on a summer’s night is an ice cream stand.
   Want to meet your neighbors? You can see them at the dump on Saturday morning. Pick your church denomination – it’s near. You want music, art, drama, a great library? All there.
   It’s a safe community. A privileged community. People have solid expectations that they’ll make a good buck, raise kids with straight teeth and college aspirations, and retire comfortably. Civic interest is very high, as is support for just about any charity or cause you can think of. It’s a community of high satisfaction. A lovely place to live.
   Friday afternoon, I saw the looks on the faces of people I know from not too long ago. Shock. Confusion. Awe. Aghast faces. Frightened faces. Sorrowful faces. Our parish priest, who often asked us on Sunday, “What are we doing to ourselves as a society?” broke down on national television. He had lots of company.
   We’ve become a vicious America, where scoring points or putting someone else down has become the thing to do. We don’t understand forgiveness anymore. We don’t believe in compromise. We can’t seem to be able to love our neighbors. We fail to sense the humanity in others.
   In our living rooms and through our car radios, we hear the voices of people who tell us whom to hate, whom to blame, whom to ridicule and whom to disenfranchise. They neither create nor build nor heal – they target.
   And we’ve become an America where, when you want to do damage, instead of hurting one person with your fists, you can kill and maim dozens.
   Friday’s slayer of innocents used his mother’s legally purchased and registered guns! The sanctimonious crusaders of the National Rifle Association would have you believe that if there had been more armed people in the school, this might not have happened. What? Should we issue Kindergarteners with sidearms along with their pencil boxes as the ultimate extension of that insane argument?
   I watched the faces of those parents in Newtown. I wondered, and I think many of us did the same thing Friday night, I wondered what I would do if one of my kids – or grandkids – had been inside that school?
   What would I have done if I’d been carefully ushered to the fire hall and told by police that my child, my grandchild, was dead…that it would be a day or two before I could see the body because it was laying in a pool of drying blood in the middle of a crime scene that had to be coldly and carefully processed? The little body of someone I’d held so close to me and kept so warm for all those years…lying on a cold floor, with strangers all around? The body that was wearing a Ninjago T-shirt or a Hello Kitty sweater when I put it on the bus this morning…
   My heart broke Friday afternoon. I prayed for the kids, for their parents and friends and grandparents and teachers, and everyone who responded to help in some way. I prayed that someone will decide it’s time to turn America around and start to take the first steps in that direction.
   I prayed for my kids and grandchildren, that they be spared from something like this. I prayed for Newtown and all the hearts there.
   Because Friday was a day the angels cried.

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1 Comment to "A Day the Angels Cried"

  1. dogbaker Said,

    I feel so sorry for those parents and families that will awaken and not find their spouse next to them or hear their children's voices

    Posted on Sat Dec 15, 07:53:00 AM EST

     

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