Too Many Times.


We are reeling once more. I can’t process it this time.
I can’t seem to go near it.

Lunchboxes and backpacks and band-aids and freckles.
These are not headlines and casualties.
These are children.

I can’t go near it.  It’s too big to hold.
The phrase “My God” is trending on Twitter.
The world is crying out. The entire world.

I do not have words.  I do not have anything.

A news anchor wrote to me, asking for words.
This has happened too many times.


A school principal wrote to me, angry that she knows what to say,
That she has a form letter stored in her files.
This has happened too many times.


The principal of Columbine High School called the principal of Robb Elementary School.
This has happened too many times.


God, be near.
Lord, have mercy.
Be merciful to the brothers and sisters, the moms and dads.
Be present to those hearing the worst news tonight.
Be near to those who are willing to enter this sadness.
Be with all those who move toward the pain,
The helpers, the teachers, the first responders.
God, be near.


This is not the way it should be.
This is not the way I would have written this story, their stories, our stories.

Somehow, let us not lose hope.
Let us see your mercy rushing to these freshly wounded places.

Show us where to act, how to respond, how to bring hope instead of chaos.
In our shock, our sorrow, our sadness, turn us from hatred.


You alone have the strength to carry us.
You alone have the wisdom and power to heal us.
Teach us not to look away,
That we may mourn with those mourn,
That we may somehow bear it by sharing in it.


They all belong to all of us.

They all belong to you.

This has happened too many times.

Tricia Lott Williford

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