Finding courage and hope in tragedy, then sharing it

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[Nelba Marquez-Greene], the mother of one of the 26 victims of last year’s Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has written a powerful letter to the teachers of America. Nelba Marquez-Green had two children attending Sandy Hook Elementary that day. Her daughter, 6-year-old Ana Grace was killed in the massacre, her son was uninjured in the attack.

A teacher friend shared the letter with me as it was reposted. I agree with those who reposted the letter:

[Nelba’s] letter, which was posted on the Education Week website is powerful, and gut-wrenching, and encouraging all in one.

Take the time to read this mother’s letter to teachers (and to all who have ears to hear and hearts to love). Here are the words that leapt out at me. For each of us dealing with loss and grief (even if pale in comparison to this mother’s grief) these words are filled with light and hope:

When my son returned to school in January, I thought I was going to lose my mind. Imagine the difficulty in sending your surviving child into a classroom when you lost your baby in a school shooting. We sent him because we didn’t want him to be afraid.

We sent him because we wanted him to understand that while our lives would never be the same, our lives still needed to move forward.

No matter our sorrows and griefs, let us move forward in courage and hope.

Crisis and Faith

As often happens, while looking for something else I found what I needed more.

Can crisis lead to faith? Does it always lead to faith? Is it the only way to (deeper, stronger) faith? These were just a few of the questions that came up in our Sunday Morning Forum at St. Margaret’s (Palm Desert) as we considered Saul, knocked down, blinded, challenged in his certainty and ambitions (Sunday, 4/14/2013 reading Acts 9:1-20).

Posted on 8 April 2013, Martin Spinelli shares about his movement from tragedy, loss, dark despair, and hopelessness into a new present filled with hope, and light, and the celebration of life.

Crisis and Faith: How Losing Almost Everything Can Help You See What Matters never uses the word God, but will certainly speak to you who treasure your relationship with God. In the short post there is no news of a return to church, or miracles, but you who gather regularly in church and who have come to look for (everyday) miracles will not be disappointed.

2006. An auto accident. Martin’s wife is killed. Their son, Lio, lies near death:

The space was dark and windowless, lit mostly by the small red LEDs of medical equipment. There, surrounded by a halo of computer screens, I found my only child with a fractured skull, severe brain damage and a horribly shattered left leg. It was suggested that I consider donating his organs. […] But as I looked at him, bruised and battered as he was on his hospital bed, something began to fill the void. I don’t know where it came from or how I came by it, but I was getting something. I had lost my wife, but at least — at least in that moment — I still had our little boy. As I stood there, my thumb wedged in his tiny clenched fist, I found myself saying, “I will face this. Nothing will stop me doing what needs to be done, saving Lio and getting him out of here. He will do it.” […]

Let Martin finish this part of the story for you: read his entire post Crisis and Faith

Mysteriuous, unbidden, at just the right moment, in the midst of pain and loss and darkness … it is how I have experienced grace, love, God. How about you?