Saturday, December 15, 2012

Processing the news from Sandy Hook Elementary

The following will not be a unique statement. Others are sharing similar thoughts in the wake of what happened yesterday. But consider this 2.5 cents from someone who has worked as a journalist and is a children's pastor.

Please take the news from Newtown, Conn., in moderation this weekend. Over-saturation is not healthy in all aspects of life, and it is especially true this weekend. Continually watching the images will not help you process or deal with what happened, and may cause more harm than good. I think this is a lesson we are all learning, living in a post-911 news culture.

This is a national tragedy. As someone wisely put it last night, we all know of, have a, or have been a 6-year-old. Everyone, regardless of age, will be dealing with the grief of what happened in the Sandy Hook Elementary school in multiple ways.

Keep informed, but do so in moderation. Be mindful of what you not only expose yourself to, but also your children. If we, as adults, struggle to process the images and knowledge of what happened, imagine how they are struggling to do so even more. Yesterday's events are truly indescribable.

So consider this permission to unplug and do other things this weekend. Choose your news sources - and amount of news - wisely.

As you do that, remember, this weekend is the third Sunday in Advent - Joy. Obviously, for many, it will be hard to find joy in the midst of grief; but consider this permission to do just that.

Find ways to enjoy the children in your life. Spend time with them. Assure them. Love them. Pray with them. The key is to simply choose to be present in their lives this weekend (and beyond) - and remember it's ok to seek out joy, in the midst of these unthinkable acts of violence.

If you want to physically do something, find a way to do so in a positive manner. Support one of the churches in Newtown who are on the front lines of this tragedy or do something for a local children's charity/ministry and its upcoming Christmas outreach.

You could even do something as an outreach to local teachers or first responders who, I'm sure, are grieving over this tragedy with their Connecticut counterparts.

Remember, you can also pray for the families in Newtown. As the Rabbi from Newtown told a news agency, prayer for the families in the wake of this tragedy is abundantly needed.

The point to all of this is to remember, we all have choices. This weekend, I am looking for ways I can bring joy into the lives of the children within my sphere of influence.

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. Be a light in this dark hour.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Edited to fix a typo and correct the age to 6, 12-15-12 9:30 p.m.

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