Yeah, there are those days where you want nothing more than to pull your child tight and close and never let them out of your sight or even out of the house again but you have to put your brave face on and reassure them that God has them and send them on their way because if you don’t get back up on that horse and ride you may pull into yourself and always be afraid.
Yesterday the phone rang several times with calls from my dad, upset and out of town, wondering if the kids were okay. You see, the radio, that big bad that breaks news that shouldn’t be broken until all the pieces are known, it went and told my dad while he was up on the bush roads in a semi doing his job that there was a gunman at my daughters school and that all the schools, well 6 anyway, were on lockdown and that they were doing an area search looking for…. Something.
So I went to that radio’s website to check the news and yeah, a 17 year old and another were in police custody and yeah it was because of a reported gun but everyone was safe and the lock down was still going on and they didn’t explain why.
I sat tight and prayed that my kids would remain save, that all the kids would, and that the officers and everyone would remain in control because really the only One with any control in those hours was God, and I couldn’t have been more thankful. I prayed that the other parents would remain calm and stay home where they wouldn’t further drain this small towns policing while they were doing whatever it was they had to do.
Then, I saw it, the police had finished and the schools were no longer on lock down, with only an hour left until they would be home I waited instead of running down to pick them up, but oh how I wanted to.
My son said that his teacher told them what was going on, which is something they aren’t supposed to do, but when you have a class full of 11 year olds who can be really hyper and disobedient when locked in a room with the shades drawn and told to sit on the floor and stay quiet for a small eternity you have to tell them the truth. You have to make the decision and tell them that this isn’t a drill, that they had been practicing for this moment since they started school at age 4 and now they had to use what they had learned and stay away from the windows and door and stay quiet because someone had a gun and they didn’t know anything more.
My daughter said that the school day started off normally, and then they were suddenly under a code red lock down. Meaning, even if you are in the washroom you lock the doors and you hide –for however long the code is going. She had friends who were locked in the washroom and had no clue what was going on. My daughter knew though, she knew that a 17 year old had come into the school and threatened the Vice Principle with a gun. She knew that the VP did what a lifetime of practice taught him to do and he managed to get the 17 year old and the weapon out of the school and the school locked down without getting himself or anyone else hurt. She knew that the police were there and that two people were arrested and she knew that the reason the police lingered was because they couldn’t find the gun.
When they did find it? It turned out to be a pellet gun, which yes of course it can kill, and it can instill fear like any pistol can and the mental wounds are often deeper than that of any calibre bullet can cause. My heart was happy though, the person with the gun had been arrested almost immediately and the gun was found later in the day in the walking trails outside of the schools. Everyone was safe. No one took a bullet. No one fired a gun. Everyone was alive.
And in that moment when the “news” broke that the lock downs were over and the police had left the schools a sweet hallelujah rolled from my lips as a tear rolled from my eye and the words “Thank You” stopped choked in my throat and I knew that the love of God could hear me even though I couldn’t speak.
Today, I think back on yesterday, which honestly seems like a very long time ago, and I wonder if this is what God the Father felt when He knew what Jesus, His only son, was going through and was going to go through with His skin still on. It had to be done. It had to be a lesson given and a lesson learned. It had to be fulfilled so that you and I could be saved from the bullet even if it hits us head on. Jesus wept, I wept too, and I am sure there were a bunch of weeping kids at the high school who weren’t sure if this was it or if it was all okay.
When Jesus inhaled deep on the cross and then exhaled that final breath, I surmise that is exactly how we all felt yesterday when the lock down ended, we could finally exhale – and though it wasn’t while hanging on the cross or while taking our final breaths, it was in a sense exhaling the old so that the new could begin because after something like yesterday the next moments don’t feel or look the same. Love has a way of staying the same while everything else changes and you pull in a little closer and you smell your child in and you squeeze a little tighter and you hand them back to God because He is the One who entrusted you to care for them and I have to trust Him right back.
I have learned a lot about love in the last 24 hours. I have learned a lot about life. I have learned that a single moment that doesn’t even make national news or past the local radio can change your perspective on life.