I wasn't going to write about Friday's sad events, instead simply choosing to pray. My heart has been heavy, and I knew others would write about it with more eloquence. My words and thoughts weren't necessarily needed. But then, I was drawn into the conversation and realized that there was indeed something I needed to say.
One of my volunteer positions at my parish is to process CORI (criminal
background check) paperwork for anyone who volunteers with children. I also
have to provide them with "Safe Environment" training - basically,
recognizing the signs of child abuse and how to report such abuse. I had one of
these meetings scheduled for Saturday morning.
As we were wrapping up, the older woman I was meeting with, who I have known
as an acquaintance for many years, asked me, "You homeschool your
children, right?" I affirmed that I did. She then said that her daughter
was so upset about the school shooting that she was considering homeschooling
her children, who are not yet school aged. I simply nodded politely and said
that it wasn't for everyone, but homeschooling had worked out well for
On a related note, later that day as I scanned Facebook, I saw several
parents post how scared they were to bring their children to school on
I do understand this fear and I am happy to support anyone who is
considering homeschooling, but the more I thought about it over the course of
the weekend, the more I realized that a gut reaction to fear and withdraw from
the world is not the answer. And, while those unfamiliar with us might think
otherwise, homeschoolers are just as much a part of the world as everyone else.
We don't live an isolated existence. Nor would we want to.
Yes, there is violence in the world. No matter how we might try, we cannot
protect ourselves or our children from every evil that is out there. We
can take reasonable precautions (for example, I'm not inclined to go walking
alone in my city neighborhood at night, nor would I allow my children to do
so), but to live in fear means that the violence has won.
Our priest addressed the topic at the Children's Mass this morning, asking
the children what lessons they should learn from these tragic events. Sadly,
some of the answers were "to trust no one." Is that really the
message we want our children to take away from this? Father corrected them, and
said that, "No, that the lesson was that we needed to bring good into the
world." He went on to say that there were far more good people in the
world than evil people and we couldn't let evil win.
This is so true. The devil won a battle on Friday, but he did not, and will
not, win the war. God is in charge. Good will prevail. We need to be on that
side. If we give into fear and live our lives in isolation in order to avoid
any possible instance of violence, then we have surrendered our trust in God
and allowed evil to win.
Christmas is about the birth of Christ, the light of the world coming into
the darkness. As Christians we are called to radiate that light as much as
possible. Right now, the world seems very dark. It needs that light more than
ever. Let us be that light.