So I had planned to come home from work tonight and write this glowing review of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
But then today happened.
This morning in Newtown, Connecticut, a young man walked into an elementary school and killed 27 people, including 20 young children, before turning a gun on himself. And in the wake of something so brutal and awful, so incomprehensibly and unspeakably evil, I can't even think about a movie.
These mass murders are happening too frequently, and each one worse the one before. The Newtown massacre is the most wrenching yet because so many young, helpless, innocent children were taken. Twenty sets of parents sent their precious babies off to school this morning, fully expecting to see them again this evening. I cannot imagine the weight of their grief tonight.
The other parents who sent their children off to school today will get them back, but they will be forever changed, their innocence shattered - even though the police who lead them from the school instructed to keep their eyes shut as they walked past the carnage.
Last night I watched a story on CBS news about a doctor who tends to victims of terrorist crimes and land mine explosions. I don't even recall where in the world his clinic was (Israel? Palestine? Afghanistan?). All I remember is how gravely and sadly he spoke of the bombs and other devices that are so much more sophisticated and deadly now that just ten years ago. A little boy, maybe six years old, was brought into the clinic, wrapped in bandages and covered in blood. He'd found a small device that he thought was a toy and put it in his pocket. The device exploded and by the time he was brought to the clinic, there was nothing to be done. The news cameras lingered at a discrete distance from his lifeless little body as his family wailed beside him.
The world seems a sick and scary place to me tonight, and the early winter darkness - that wearying kind of darkness that starts to set in around four in the afternoon, and feels heavy and impenetrable long before six - seems a perfect metaphor for the times.
I listened to Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong CD on my drive home from work. I was singing along with "Happy Christmas/War Is Over" until that final chorus where the children take over, singing with angelic innocence: "War is over if you want it/War is over now." Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, I felt a sob rise up in my throat and I immediately fast-forwarded past the rest of the song to keep that sob from escaping. The subsequent carols - each containing a plea for a savior, Emmanuel - sounded more poignant and pleading than ever before, like desperate and heartfelt cries to the heavens for a God who would bring us mercy, justice and peace and make sense of our increasingly senseless lives. I want to believe in that kind of God. My faith has been shaky in recent months, but belief seems urgent now.