Saturday Single No. 320

I have no children. Nor does the Texas Gal. Not this time around, anyway.

So there is no way for me to comprehend the grief that lives today in Newtown, Connecticut, where twenty children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School yesterday. (Two others died in Newtown as well; the killer evidently murdered his own mother before going to the school, and he killed himself in the school.)

Like many others, I imagine, I spent yesterday with the television on as background, occasionally looking up from my other tasks as more information became clear and details came through. It never made sense, of course. Those of us who are sane and whole cannot begin to understand the motives of those who are not. So in my living room, shock turned to bafflement, which gave way to confusion and sorrow as I learned about another convulsion of the violence that is as much a part of our culture as are birthday parties.

I know, however, that my shock, confusion and sorrow cannot come near to the shock, confusion and raw grief felt by those in Newtown whose houses held empty beds last night. And it’s the children who haunt me. In no way do I mean to diminish the murders of seven adults yesterday or the agonies of their families today. But I find a special horror in the killing of twenty school children, as do many, I think, in the United States and around the world.

I am not a father. So I do not know how it feels to have one of life’s greatest gifts taken violently away. I can think of parallels and rough equivalents, but those, I am sure, would cast nothing more than faint shadows compared to the darkness that’s settled onto those twenty homes in Newtown.

I have to admit that I am glad not to know how that darkness feels. I only wish none of us knew.

And in what feels like a futile act of consolation, I offer “By Way Of Sorrow” by Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell, who recorded in 1998 as Cry Cry Cry, for a Saturday Single:

By Way Of Sorrow

You’ve been taken by the wind
You have known the kiss of sorrow
Doors that would not take you in
Outcast and a stranger

You have come by way of sorrow
You have come by way of tears
But you’ll reach your destiny
Meant to find you all these years
Meant to find you all these years

You have drunk a bitter wine
With none to be your comfort
You who once were left behind
Will be welcome at love’s table

You have come by way of sorrow
You have come by way of tears
But you’ll reach your destiny
Meant to find you all these years
Meant to find you all these years

All the nights that joy has slept
Will awake to days of laughter
Gone the tears that you have wept
You’ll dance in freedom ever after

You have come by way of sorrow
You have come by way of tears
But you’ll reach your destiny
Meant to find you all these years
Meant to find you all these years

(by Julie Miller)

Edited slightly since first posting.

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One Response to “Saturday Single No. 320”

  1. Paco Malo says:

    I have a Christmas party to attend this evening — a gathering of friends from high school. As this topic will most certainly come up, I would have been at a loss to know how to handle the discussion. Your post, and Julie Miller’s song, has helped me find a way to talk about this tragedy.

    Thank you, whiteray. You’ve been a big help on this dark day.

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