Today I held an infant in my arms. Valerie. She was perfect. Crystal, piercing blue eyes gazed up at me, as I felt the corners of my own green eyes crinkle. An indescribable feeling rushed through me. That precious child was innocent, pure, helpless. I felt the silky, soft skin on her hand and the miniscule bone of her pinky. My heart melted at the sight of her fingernails the size of snowflakes.
"How was heaven?" I thought to myself as I stared into her face. I haven't loved something so instantaneously in a long time.
And how ironic, on today of all days.
Early this morning my LCD screen on my phone lit up. What I thought was a text message from a dear friend turned out to be an update from the New York Times. I sank onto the arm of my couch as I began to read words that still haunt me and cause my heart to break. 20 children killed. Tears filled my eyes and ran down my cheeks as I saw images of frightened young faces and read first hand accounts from third graders. A deep, dull aching pain filled my heart.
I avoided the news for the rest of the day. Photos showing the faces of pained citizens of a town in Connecticut were too much to bear. But finally, in the late night hours of the day, when words mean more and my heart is more in tune with my head, I began to read. And the tears spilled down my face.
There is nothing that can be said. Perhaps for now, the silent tears and low intakes of breath are enough to convey the depth of the despair a nation of mothers and fathers now feels. As I sit alone in this quiet room, I am suddenly very aware of all that is around me. The sound of a car driving by on the damp pavement outside my window. The warmth of the blankets around my legs. The stinging of the tears now drying in the corner of my eyes. The onset of a headache that only comes from distress. Reality has suddenly become real.
One day, I hope to be a mother. I will love my children dearly. Laugh with them. Weep with them. Teach them of their Savior, Jesus Christ. But on nights like this, I wish I could hold them. Protect them from evil that will surely cross their paths. The future is unknown, but I know in whom I place my trust.
Tonight, I have found comfort in the words of an ancient prophet.
"But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter of persons..."
My thoughts are miles away in Newtown, Connecticut. My heart is with the families of those precious children.
And now, all that's left to wonder is "How is heaven?"