Aside from what I was able to glean early on Friday afternoon, I know very little about the Newtown incident. I know how many people died. I know twenty of them were children. After that I had to make a choice between turning off NPR/the news in general/Facebook/the Internet or being able to breathe. So most of the information I have has been deduced from those initial Facebook posts and/or Obama's speech on Sunday, which I watched sitting on the floor of Joel's kitchen.
I know the victims were first graders. The same age as Genoa.
Roughly half of the dead children shared names with her classmates.
I can't even think about that without crying and no part of me is able to put myself in those parent's shoes. I'm not sure any of us can or that we even should.
Meanwhile my first grader is jumping rope behind me in our Siberian kitchen. She's teaching herself to jump backwards and cross-wise while singing "Yo Gabba Gabba, I made it out of clay!"
I have the luxury of being annoyed by this. I just made bacon for her brother's chocolate fountain party at school tomorrow and I'm afraid she's going to catch her rope on the pan and burn herself. Which just reminds me how lucky I am that I get to worry about my children.
How lucky am I?!
I'm pretty sure I'm not alone when I say I'm not doing that well.
Given the turn-out lately, I'm also not the only one coping by going to church. I don't think The Bridge has an official membership roster, but if they did, I'd happily sign up, even if I had to login to a fancy machine that spit out my name tag every week. My People (SamnTerry, their daughter Sophie, JoelnLiza) would too. Thanks to the radical enthusiasm of Todd and Angie Fadel, we all spent most of the weekend singing about baby jesus at the top of our lungs.
And crying. There was a lot of that. It helped almost as much as the singing did.
Then yesterday I almost had a psychotic break because I couldn't find my keys (which I never EVER lose) (because I'm not a real Democrat) (yet). I was rummaging through my pockets and emptying my purse with the kind of deranged fervor you can only muster when the death of 20 first graders is fresh on your mind and you're late to pick up your own.
Anyway, in my search for the missing keys, I came across a note I wrote during last week's sermon. We'd been asked to think about a time when we felt God's presence. I could've just rolled my eyes at the exercise because I don't actually believe in a Capital "G" God, but I found myself writing about the moment the doctor placed Alex's wet, slimy, peeing body on my chest for the first time. In that moment I felt connected to the universe in ways I had previously been unable to fathom. That connection was so deep and so surreal that everything around me suddenly had meaning. Even Beatles songs!
It was the first time I fell in love.
So I guess it's okay to stop beating myself up about being the atheist at church every Sunday because it turns out my "god" is most definitely love and all I have to do to feel it is think about my children.
Which means that no matter how hard I try, I can't stop thinking about the parents of those twenty first-graders. They lost their entire universe on Friday. My universe might require additional visits from my friend Pam (Clonazepam) if I want to avoid living in a constant state of panic, but at least I still have a universe.