scarlett's kindergarten class had their class christmas party today and i was there helping out the room mother with the treats and crafts. it wasn't until i left the school after the party that i heard the terrible news about the tragic school shooting in connecticut this morning. i spent the rest of day reflecting upon the wonderful and safe setting that my dear daughter was able to enjoy in her class and contrasting it with the horrors those poor children at sandy hook elementary school had to experience. and by reflecting, i mean putting on a brave face for my kids whilst i surreptitiously wiped tears from my face because every time i thought about it, i felt like i was falling apart.
because of the terror and the evil was displayed today, i am reminded of how much i still need to learn. strengthening our families is the only thing that will combat this evil. we have to hold our families even closer and tighter. we must make educating and protecting our children from physical and spiritual dangers an even greater priority. we must take advantage of every opportunity to speak kind and loving words to one another. we must put aside grudges and forgive actual and perceived slights. when i think of how short so many innocent lives were cut today, i can't imagine wasting any more time dwelling on insignificant things when there is so much service that needs to be rendered and relationships to be strengthened.
i thought thomas' facebook post from today was especially poignant:
"Today I outlined the words to a personal Facebook post. I wanted to post about my experiences as a high school football player, how the sport transformed me from a chubby, picked-on, sarcastic, know-it-all (why did I get picked on?) into a believer. A believer in the power of hard work, discipline, teammates and, ultimately, myself. I wanted to post about how proud I am that the institution that allowed me to become a believer is competing for the highest football honor (a state championship) tonight in Atlanta and how my undying loyalty to that institution compels me to drive three hours one-way to cheer that institution on to victory. Pretty self-indulgent stuff. But given the tragedy of today, such a post just doesn't seem that important right now. My faith and my love of my family keep pulling my emotions and thoughts back to people I don't know who today suffered immeasurable losses to an unspeakable horror. So in lieu of my thoughts, I instead invite all of you reading this post to offer a sincere prayer to your Father in Heaven, a prayer of gratitude for what you have and of comfort for those who have suffered such terrible losses today. Then, follow those prayers up with actions, Christ-like actions that make the world better. And, I'll leave you with a quote from fictional Coach Eric Taylor of the Friday Night Lights TV Show (my fave), since its seems to apply to both high school football and to all of us as we reflect upon the tragic events of today: "God, give all of us gathered here tonight the strength to remember that life is so very fragile. We are all vulnerable, and we will all, at some point in our lives... fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts... that what we have is special. That it can be taken from us, and when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls. We will now all be tested. It is these times, it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves.""
i am grateful for my family and the gospel of Jesus Christ. His gospel is perfect. it is the only thing that will give us peace and understanding in a world of turmoil. i know that though difficult times may arise, there are brighter days ahead.
"My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith." -Thomas S. Monson