Today has become a dark day, joined by other dark days of impossible violence in a nation used to internal peace. It is a harsh moment: an elementary school, full of innocent children, a place that should be safe, now made dangerous and unsafe by the action of one individual.
Though most of us are not in Newton, Connecticut, or personally know those involved, we mourn with them. We empathize with them. We grieve with them. We are miles apart, and yet we wish to be there, our arms around weeping mothers, hoping to hold them and heal them.
We cannot restore what has been lost, but we can all stand as a lighthouse on a rocky shore, shining out light into the darkness. As we attempt to fathom the tragedy, we can reach out a hand to our families, friends, and communities. We can look at the light of human kindness, the light of charity.
And we can hope.
In the darkest of times, we can turn to the stories that have touched our heart and minds.
Stories heal us.
They teach us. They make the incomprehensible comprehensible. They expose us to situations we pray we never will meet. They establish role models and examples, whether those examples be for good or ill. They can bring us together. They can help us escape, and help us understand.
In days like today, stories can be the warm blanket we wrap our souls in, and remind us of the best of humanity.
We can walk along the dark road to Mordor with Frodo and Sam, keeping our hope in Sam’s nobility and kindness.
We can sympathize with an orphaned girl named Anne, entering Green Gables for the first time, knowing the Cuthberts wanted a boy and not a girl. We can smile with joy as they welcome her into their home.
We can realize new things, like green eggs and ham, aren’t that terrible after all.
We can smile as Wesley and Princess Buttercup at last have their ‘greatest kiss,’ and then as a grandfather says, “As you wish,” when parting with his grandson.
We can laugh with a scout and his elderly best friend as they count cars and eat ice cream next to their newly acquired airship.
There is always darkness before light. There is always hope.
What stories bring you hope? Where do you find strength when facing darkness?
Also, if you know any ways we can help those who have been effected, please share in the comments below.