Yesterday, as I drove to school, my stomach was upset and my heart was in my throat. In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, I think it's safe to say that every parent has imagined their worst nightmare... hugging their precious child for the last time.
The innocent, smiling faces of the children killed on Friday haunted me as I parked the car, unclipped the car seat, and slid Little Miss to the pavement. My steps wavered as I led her to the door.
We signed in and took a seat in the lobby. We could hear the teachers in the classrooms as they prepared for the day. It would be so easy to pick Little Miss up, walk back out the door, take her home and keep her with me forever.
8:00 came and with the passing of the last minute before school stared, Mr. J. came to greet us. As he saw Little Miss, his face lit up with a smile. His delight was genuine and the affection he has for my daughter came glowing from him -- a spark that quickly burst into flame and warmed the whole room.
In that instant, I felt peace.
Horrible things will happen in this world. It is the nature of our condition. But for each tragedy, there are so many perfect lights of hope. People like Mr. J... Stories like that of Dylan Hockley and his aide Anne Marie Murphy... each reminds us of the people who make a difference in our lives.
In the days following the Sandy Hook tragedy, those words were shared all over the internet. They could not have been more appropriate.
Hug your child close when they leave for school today, and as you do I hope you'll say a prayer of thanks for the helpers -- if not thank them personally. It is because of them that this world is worth living in.
A special thanks to Alysia at Try Defying Gravity for sharing the story of Dylan Hockley and Anne Marie Murphy.