Tuesday, April 17, 2007


It's all over the news, people crying, being carried, running.

This morning on Good Morning America they interviewed the campus reverand (priest?) and asked him what one sentence he found comforting. He fought back tears and said "God is here, God is here." He lacked conviction when he said it, though you could tell he said it with great faith, great hope. Because perhaps faith and hope are all that's left in those kinds of situations.

I can't relate to the fear, the sheer terror that must have swept across that campus yesterday. My life has been resoundingly safe and steady. I cannot imagine the sheer magnitude of loss, the tipping of the scales into a deep void where uncertainty waits, sadness looms and fear dominates.

But I have walked across a campus filled with despair and loss and it's a feeling I will never shake. Ours was a small, close campus. Our loss was merely one.

And yet.

I remember the strange silence that followed in the coming days. The obvious absences from classes, the stoic and awkward presences in them. I remember hundreds not knowing what to say, and tens reaching out for anything. Any comfort at all. Standing looking down into that void.

A dear friend of mine was touched by the loss, in a way I'll never be able to fully know. She looked at me, as dusk fell in our plaza under a giant palm tree and asked with a look in her eyes I'll never forget - will it ever get better? WIll it stop hurting?

And I wanted to say yes. I wanted to give her a timetable, a date. A place she could look forward to getting when all this would be past. When the heartbreak would cease: when things would feel safe again.

But I couldn't.

And that is when my heart broke. That is why now, watching those students on the television breaks my heart still. I don't know what their worlds will be like in the coming years, in the coming decades. I don't know what this world holds for them. I just know that I hope for them what I hoped for my friend all those years ago.

It may never stop hurting, the loss may never be less. But over time the joys mean more, the laughter becomes more precious. And that somehow makes it easier. Over time, that all somehow brightens the darkness.

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