April 17, 2012
We had a thunderstorm this afternoon. Not the sort of thunderstorm that comes with buckets of rain, like in some parts of the world, mind you; here it is more likely to bring swirls of dust than the needed rain. But it did come with some pretty impressive flashes of lightening. While on after school duty, I was watching this lightening and wishing I had my camera on hand. When I looked back down at the children, after a loud clash of thunder, I saw another teacher over with one of the little ones, comforting her. “It’s ok,” she reassured the terrified preschooler, “we don’t need to go into the safe room. That was only thunder.” In an instant, I realized what was happening, and my heart ached for these children. They do not know a thunderstorm. They do know gunfire. And they do know bomb blasts. So when they hear these sounds, all they know to do is to prepare to take shelter, and to fear for their lives.
When I was a child, I loved the sound of an approaching storm; it filled me with awe and excitement at the power of the natural world. But when I was a child, I knew nothing of war. I knew other sorts of hardship, to be sure. But this? This is a sort of evil that terrifies me now, as a world-savvy woman in my thirties. I can only imagine what it does to the heart of a five-year-old. Lord have mercy on us all as we endeavor to love this land, and its children. Children with lives that carry on. Children who spend the next day back to school as usual, and to after-school basketball games. Children with a future.