Where shall it go, all this grief? We do not have the depths in us to hold it. Any death is grievous. Any senseless murder is more than we can take in. But children. Many children. I love the moments just after recess when schoolchildren are all kind of flushed and sweaty and a little disheveled and lively, bordering on rowdy. The classroom pulses and smells earthy and alive! There’s not a place more overflowing with life and hope than an elementary classroom. The grief of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, is as large as all that bursting life and hope. It has no boundaries. Where shall we put a grief so large? We do not have the depths in us to hold it. We must not pretend we do.

Tears cannot help us hold it. Tears are the overflow as grief pushes in and finds not nearly enough room. Tears are grief’s edges turned liquid, but there are never enough of them to lessen the weight or make room for the grief to fit with any comfort. But still we weep. For ages we have wept. Jeremiah knew this weeping, this deep kind, for children. His weeping became part of the first Christmas story, when wicked Herod (afraid of a child) killed all the male children in Bethlehem two years old or younger. Matthew recognizes this weeping:

A voice was heard in Ramah,

weeping and loud lamentation,

Rachel weeping for her children;

she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.

(Matthew 2:18, quoted from Jeremiah 31:15)

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