I originally wrote this post several days after the Newtown tragedy. I’m sharing it today, on the anniversary of that day, unedited. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the many families affected.
Last week I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Losing faith in humanity one person at a time.” I laughed about it and went on my way. Later, though, I was disheartened to realize that it’s true. I am losing faith in people.
Losing Faith in Humanity
I suppose it’s been happening slowly over the past few years. As I get older I see more and more instances of our capacity to, on the ‘better’ end of things, just plain suck, and on the worse end of things, be horribly, horribly evil. I see people playing disgusting ‘jokes’ on others. I see business people willing to give up their ethics to make a few extra bucks. I see men and women satisfying their own momentary pleasures without a second thought of how it will destroy their families.
And then Friday’s tragedy happened and the true depravity of the human heart hit me full force. Why oh why am I having to write about children dying for the second time in a few weeks? When I wrote The Unthinkable it was about the horror of having a sick child. And now I can’t help but write about the horror of having your child murdered because I can’t stop thinking about it.
Our first job and desire as parents is to keep our kids safe. When they’re babies it’s a fairly easy thing to do because we hold the sole responsibility for that little life; we control almost everything that happens to that child. When they eat, where they go, who comes in contact with them. Everything goes through a screening process.
As they get older though, we have to relinquish some of that control because we realize that in order to raise children who become responsible adults, we have to let them out into the world. Most of the time this is okay. There are lots of wonderful people out there who have the same goal and are willing to help our children along the way. But I’m increasingly seeing people who do not have my children’s best interests in mind and it terrifies me.
Last year, my then 3 year old son had something happen to him in a place where he should have been safe. Thankfully he suffered no lasting ill effects, but it was an eye opener for Eric and I that the world is not a safe place. Still, we’ve moved on and we send him to various activities feeling as though he’ll be okay. Until now.
On Friday night Eli had his Christmas concert. As I sat in the packed auditorium, I could not stop looking around in suspicion at the people there. I knew that they were there to see their children perform, but how could I be sure there wasn’t someone with evil intentions? I breathed a sigh of relief as we walked to the parking lot.
This morning as Eli got ready to leave for school I wanted to tell him to be careful. To do everything his teacher tells him without hesitation. To run and hide if he sees someone come to the door. I know that last one is foolish even though I feel it with every fiber of my being, so I bit my tongue, gave him an extra kiss and an extra ‘I love you’, and said a prayer for his safety as he headed out the door.
And now I sit here, trying to sort out my thoughts and emotions, and struggling to know what direction this writing should go. How to restore our trust in others? Creating a safer world for our kids? Discussions on gun control and mental health? At the risk of starting a theological argument, which is not my intent, I will end with something that I hope can bring at least a small measure of peace to those of you who are struggling as I am.
On Friday night, as I cried for the families of the victims, I asked God how He could allow such a thing to happen. I won’t pretend that He gave me an answer to one of the most perplexing questions of all time. But I will say that as I cried I heard a still, small voice say, “I’m crying too.” Maybe before we can begin to rebuild our faith in humanity, we need to restore our faith in the Savior who understands our sufferings and weeps with us.
Tricia the Good Mama says
It’s so scary and sad. My thoughts and prayers are with those families.
Sophia Kortig says
So scary!!..I can’t believe that this story really exist.,maybe we could easily say that in order for us to have faith in each other is we should remain the respect and the value we have in ourselves. This is really a good start for us to trust someone’s seeking for our faith..I read similar site to this that they are certain things we could give w/o spending too much money, as long it came from our heart., It would be the best you could ever give…It’s here http://www.exploretalent.com/articles/top-15-pics-puts-faith-humanity-back-track/
Jaime Buckley says
My Dear Little Sister Lauren,
You left a comment on my site, which I appreciated–but something nagged at me…and a small voice said I should click on your link and see who you are. To discover what you write about.
One of the best decisions I’ve made all year.
If I may be so bold, being a father of 12 and growing up with a vacation home in hell—I can completely understand the pains, doubts (or questions) about people, faith and the Lords plan when it comes to the lives of our children…but I believe there are reasons.
Deep, powerful reasons that only God in Heaven can truly see from end to end, even though our tiny lives are a part of these very plans.
Imagine standing on top of a mountain.
Before you is a valley you cannot see. It’s covered in a thick layer of fog, but in the far distance is a second mountain top. That is your destination. You know it, feel it with every fiber of your being…that is where you must get to.
Beside you stands the Lord.
“How am I supposed to get where you want me to go without seeing the path?” you say. “I’m ready to run,” you add with confidence.
“The mist is there for your protection my dear,” the Lord says softly. “There are perils I must guide you through.”
“But if I can see them, I can avoid them altogether,” you argue.
So the Lord waves his almighty hand and the mist vanishes.
You gasp and stumble back a step.
Below you, intertwined with the path of your life are stumbling blocks, hedges and various animals perched at key points. Further you see crowds of people yelling up at you, though you can’t hear what they’re saying, pumping their fists threateningly in the air. Even further, you see the path broken, large chasms gaping with flames shooting into the air.
Your heart sinks, because it looks utterly…
“Impossible,” you choke, the word falling from your lips. “There’s no way I can get through there!”
The Lord waves his hand and the scene is once more covered with the thick mist. All signs of the dangers vanish from view.
“No, you cannot,” the Lord says soberly, “without me.”
Stepping forward, the Lord places his arm about your shoulder and points out over the mist. “But together…we can do all things, you and I. Even navigate the hidden dangers of your life.”
You look up doubtful, but He smiles. “Do you trust Me?”
“Do you have faith in Me?”
“Then know that all things are for your good. Every bump, bruise, danger and loss is designed to shape you into the person you must become to fulfill the measure of your creation.” He turns you towards Him, placing hand squarely on your shoulder. “To become what your family and what the world requires most.”
You see, Lauren, this has never been about faith in humanity.
It’s about faith in God.
We cannot know sweet without tasting the bitter…and the safety, the love, the heaven in this world, I have learned, is the heaven I work to make myself.
There’s so much I don’t know. So much my heart breaks over. Loved ones…and yes, children, that I miss. People I’ve buried, people I’ve lost, people who have betrayed my faith, my trust, my confidence and loyalty. But it’s not about what they or the world chooses to do.
It’s about what I choose to do. Every day. Get up. Breathe in. Breathe out. Smile. Kiss my wife. Kiss my kids.
…and fight HARDER THAN HELL to change my environment…because they deserve more and God gave me the ability to affect change for the better. Mighty change.
Just like you.
You, my dear sister, inspired my heart in 60 seconds flat.
I can only imagine the phenomenal strength and potential God sees in you. So if you ever wonder why you see the troubles around you or experience such heartache in your own soul…it’s because it stirs a strength in you to reach for and attain something better for you and those around you.
I believe that to be true about you, because that’s what happens with me.
Thank you for sharing. Thank you SO much. Don’t stop.
Be real. Be open. Be honest.
…and let God’s confidence in you suffice.
Your New Biggest Fan.
Jaime, thank you so much for your kind words and the beautiful illustration. I truly appreciate it.
When I re-published this post the other day, I almost edited it. I will never fully have faith in humanity because our sinful human nature makes us unfaithful in ways both big and small. I know the only One I can truly have 100% faith and confidence in is Jesus. That said, I decided to keep it the same because I wanted to keep the raw emotion I felt after Newtown. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t change the title. A lot of people find this post by searching for the term “losing faith in humanity” and if I can help them just begin to realize that our faith should lie in Someone greater than us, then maybe I’ve done what God intended for me when I started this blog.