Best week, worst week

by david

Last Tuesday, my wife gave birth to a perfect and perfectly healthy baby boy. He’s great, and she’s doing well. Our daughter, almost three, loves her new baby brother, and we’ve been hunkered down in our house teaching a tiny person how to eat, and we’ve been sleeping as much as we’re able.

We’ve not turned on TV news, not even once. We can’t do it to ourselves. We know enough from the internet about the suffering in Newtown. Video of that suffering would be too much. When I told my wife about it (the news broke while she was getting a desperately needed nap), she broke into tears that I’ve never seen the like of. Children. It’s… we still have no words.

(I will interrupt myself here and promise you that this post has no resolution or wisdom in it. Nor am I attempting to equate our experience with anybody else’s, to claim exceptional suffering or exceptional joy. I’m just writing about a moment as honestly as I can.)

I’ve been online, silent, watching the facts emerge, watching the incorrect facts emerge and dissipate, watching the arguments break out, and have just barely contained myself. Why can’t you people… No sentence that starts that way makes anything better. I have no good words, except for my Congressman, who received about 500 of them.

I’ve been online, silent, watching people express their love and support for one another. I’ve seen them reach out in horror, with nothing but kindness and sympathy. It is some solace, I’m sure, but. But.

My family’s direct contact with the world this week has largely been messages and calls from people sharing their joy and excitement over the birth of our son. That experience would lead us to believe that the world is an inherently good place, filled with generous people who care.  I’m not naive enough to think that the other vision of the world doesn’t have truth to it—a place of irreconcilable differences, of people eager to show their teeth—but that world has no place in our house this week. I simply can’t go online and fight the Westboro Baptist Church or the militiamen. I can’t argue with people who don’t have their facts straight, or the people who can’t stop to grieve before they start throwing accusations at the people they blame for everything. I can’t.

Moreover, I can’t because all I can think of is those kids and those parents. Our son is beautiful, and to think of what happened in Newtown is agony. We just brought a boy into the world. To think of… we still have no words.

I wish those families in Connecticut every comfort, kindness and joy that their future can provide them. I don’t know how they can do it.