“Did God make houses?”
“Why do we have to go to church?”
“Why do people argue about the Holy Grail? We know there was a cup. They say at Mass, ‘He took the cup…’, so what happened to it?”
“Who took over as the angel of light, you know, after Lucifer fell?”
“Why did Jesus and the apostles wait until after supper to drink the wine? You know how they say, ‘After supper, he took the cup…’ What did they drink with dinner?”
As my kids have grown, so have their questions. I’ve gotten some questions over the past year that are way, way over my head. They’re asking me the kind of questions that have sent me looking for answers from people with far greater theological knowledge than my own. Okay, so that’s not really saying much. My point being, I’ve never had a problem admitting to the boys when I don’t something. I don’t want them to think I know everything because, quite frankly, I don’t. Sometimes, the most important thing is just knowing where to look for the answers.
Last Tuesday, Andrew was sitting in his Language Arts class at the middle school, having a fairly typical day when the PA clicked on, “LOCKDOWN. LOCKDOWN. LOCKDOWN.”
He spent the next 45 minutes huddled quietly in a corner away from the door to the classroom, waiting. Waiting for what, he didn’t know. All he knew was that this was not a drill. He and two friends worked out a plan using sign language and lip reading to take out anyone who made it through the locked classroom door. All I knew was what sparse information I could find online. A fellow mom had tipped me off. She went to the school to scope out the situation while I scoured the internet. Police were at the school. Four people were arrested with weapons in an incident at the school. No one was hurt.
No one was hurt. That was all I cared. As soon as the lockdown was lifted, Andrew was able to text me. We compared what limited information we had so far. Four men with handguns and rifles were found in the woods next to the school and were arrested on the spot. It turned out they were carrying high-powered pellet rifles and pellet guns. A fair number of parents rushed to the school to pick up their kids as soon as the story broke. I offered to do the same but Andrew wanted to stay and finish out the day. I had to tell Eugene what had happened when I picked him up from the elementary school. He already knew something had happened and I’d rather he get his information from me than the news or his friends.
Enter the new round of questions.
“What were they thinking when they built that cafeteria? Two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows? Are they trying to get us all killed?”
“If someone’s breaking in the school or is already in the school, it’s already too late to call lockdown. They’re just telling the bad guy exactly where to find us. Everybody knows we’ll be hiding in the corners. What good is it going to do?”
It didn’t help that one of the men arrested outside the middle school rather blithely told the police, “If I was going to hurt kids, I would’ve done it already.”
I tried to answer my kids’ questions. The best answers I could give were that the windows were supposed to let in sunshine, light and fresh air. The locked classroom doors were to stall for time, so the cops could show up to stop the bad guy. Both were met with incredulity.
“Great. Sunshine, light and nowhere to hide.”
“Sure Mom, like the bad guy’s just gonna look at the locked door and be like, ‘Oh darn, it’s locked. I guess I’ll have to go back to my truck for the tools to take the doorknob off.'”
I don’t have better answers. I don’t even know where to look to find them this time. This isn’t the way I grew up. Classrooms were for learning, not hiding. Windows were for daydreaming, not avoiding. I’m trying so hard to teach my sons to look for the beauty and goodness in the world but society is telling them to be afraid. Be very, very afraid. Schools are beefing up security. More lockdown drills. More cops around the schools. More guns. Protect yourself. Defend yourself. HIDE!
Lord, give me something to work with here, because I got nothing. Not a damn thing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Not totally true. Nightmares. I have nightmares. A little help here….