I used to wonder what it would feel like to return to work after a tragedy struck before that ill-fated September day. I can remember the planes striking the towers in New York and watching the tragedy unfold with my sixth grade students. It felt as though the air had been sucked out of the room.
This past Friday was much different than September 11th for me, as someone senselessly killed completely innocent children at Sandy Hooks Elementary. I continue to mourn for these families as I think of my own class and all of their beautiful faces. They walked in to class today, mostly unaware of the tragedy that happened Friday. I was thankful for each child who showed up. A few of them asked me why our classroom door remained locked today. I simply replied for them to talk with their parents about it. I did not find it my place to reproduce the fear that must have been felt by the children that day.
Today was much different as we tested, as I was thankful to have them all feeling safe and sound at school. A few of them had heard what had happened and it seemed as though they just knew a portion of the story (which is probably for the best). I pray for those children who might never feel safe in school again. I know what it is like to lose a classmate to murder, it is something that you never quite get over.
Tonight as I walked by the bell tower near our house, the flags flown half staff struck my heart and I was reminded again of the power of community to stand together against darkness. May the students of Sandy Hooks mourn well over the coming weeks. May God comfort their families and bring a holy peace to them all.