I’ve been happily enjoying the festive spirit and letting my blog readers get a taste too by avoiding politics and enjoying my online advent calendar.
But today, I feel moved to return to politics and current affairs. Yesterday evening news started to break about a shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Another in a long line of tragic shootings – the 31st in the USA since Columbine – which shocks the world and makes us all take stock of friends and family and give thanks for how lucky we are.
I’ve spent a fair while trying to find the right words and am struggling. So I’m going to rely on quotes from two writers with talent far beyond my own.
Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.
Alan Paton – Cry, the Beloved Country, 1948
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
William Butler Yeats, The Stolen Child, 1889
Finally, as you read those words and think about the children and families in the community of Newtown, listen to the song below and say a prayer to whatever god you believe in.