The other day I was sitting in a waiting room, waiting for my name to be called for a med check. An elderly couple came in the door and walked past me. The woman was quite frail and her hands shook badly. The man, presumably her husband, led her to the front desk and checked her in. Then they sat down across from me.
The man picked up a magazine and began to read. I had the thought that he was accustomed to sitting in many waiting rooms just like this. The woman sat beside him. She did not seem aware of her surroundings. Her head drifted down till her chin was resting on her chest. Her eyes were closed. I wondered if she was sleeping. Her hands would not stop their frenzied shaking.
After a bit, without taking his eyes off the magazine he was reading, he reached down with his left hand and found her right one. Immediately, her hand stilled. He kept reading. She never opened her eyes.
I felt tears well up. Such a beautiful moment. Their hands entwined. My name was called and I left the waiting room.
It occurs to me that gifts come in many shapes and forms. That day, I saw true love.
And now we’re all so confused and saddened by what happened in Connecticut. We keep sifting through news stories and avidly listen to TV correspondents “with new information” to find some reason. To find some kernel of truth that will give us answers. When probably, there really are none.
Just a few of the casualties, photos via internet sources:
Emilie Parker, age 6.
Noah Pozner, age 6.
Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, age 6
Just three of the 20 children at the cusp of beginning their lives. Innocent 6 and 7 year old children waiting for Christmas to come so they could open their presents.
I think of the 6 adults who served as their teachers and principal and school psychologist. Individuals who spent their time teaching and shaping America’s children. Gunned down right there in front of the survivors. And why? I want so badly for the skies to open up and shine the answer down to us.
In my mind’s eye, I keep seeing that man’s left hand reach over and calm his wife’s right hand. I see the two deeply lined and wrinkled hands folded together in love.
And then I see photos of these innocent children and I wonder: Where did we go wrong?
Diana Ross sang a song, and a verse came to mind this morning: “Where Did We Go Wrong?”
But where did we go wrong?
I thought we were supposed to make it
Where did we go wrong?
How could life give us love, then take it away?
Earlier in the week, my grandson called to thank me for the gift I sent him in the mail. He turned 9. I asked him what he did on his birthday. He said he had a party with a group of his friends. I asked him what they did. He told me a place they went to that was not familiar to me. I asked him what they did there. He said: “You shoot people.”
I didn’t have cause to think of it then, but I think of that now. Why do we make shooting people part of our children’s games? Places where they go to celebrate their birthday. Of course it isn’t real people. But the thought comes to me: These children are somewhat numb to shooting people due to TV and video games.
We as a society have got to find some answers and force our legislators to listen to us and make some vital changes.
Oh, where did we go wrong?