I have been teaching this class for a few years now. Most Wednesdays, I start anticipating the 7:00 class sometime in the afternoon. I used the word anticipating because the word dreading has such negative connotations. Most Wednesdays, I come home from class knowing that I learned - or relearned - so much more than the kids did.
Last night is a perfect example. We are learning about the liturgical calendar, the calendar by which the Church orders its' year. We are currently in "Ordinary Time", that time between Christmas and Lent and also between Easter and Advent. It is the time when we learn the most about Jesus' ordinary life - not the huge milestones of His birth or of His death and resurrection - but His life among us.
Towards the end of class, we just sort of devolve into a discussion time, when the kids ask questions about whatever is on their minds. What is on their minds is very rarely what I have just spent 40 minutes talking about. Last night, they wanted to talk about the recent events in Arizona, when Representative Giffords was shot and Christina Green, among others, died. We were discussing praying, for the repose of the souls of those who died, for the healing of those who were hurt, for the skill of their doctors, for the first responders who, as one child pointed out, will have those pictures and memories in their minds forever. I mentioned that we also needed to pray for the young man who committed this horrendous act and especially for his family.
It is easy to pray for the victims. It is much harder to pray for the perpetrators.
It is easy to remember the families of the heroes and to think of their pain. It is much harder to think of the family of the gunman and of their pain.
I am thankful, on this Thursday, that I cannot imagine the pain of the shooter's mother. I am thankful for children who remind me to look further, to look deeper, to pray harder. I am thankful that I live in a country where, amidst all of the chaos and confusion, it is still our first instinct to protect, to shelter, to find the good that is always present.