Pearl's Paradise

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled teams yearning to breath free…"

December 19, 2012
by Steve Pearl

Haunted by an Image of Innocence Lost

(WARNING:  After the break this posting contains descriptions that may be too visceral and too fresh for readers who have lost loved ones due to gun violence.  I urge you to read the remainder of this post with that caution in mind.)

There is one picture from the Sandy Hook massacre I just can’t shake.  I see it when I put my head on the pillow at night.  I see it when I wake up in the morning.  I saw it dance before my eyes as I drove to the office the other day.

It’s not a picture of one of the dead children, those beautiful, smiling kids whose lives were snuffed in the blink of an eye.  I can’t forget those images, either, but they don’t haunt me in quite the same way.  If God is truly as merciful as He promises, then I must believe they are with Him in paradise.

No, the image seared in my memory is the picture of a chain of children being led from the Sandy Hook Elementary school.  I think the third girl in the chain is the one whose face I can’t shake.  It’s the face of innocence lost, of adult horrors bestowed on too young a child.  Her mouth is gaping, her eyes clamped shut.  She is clearly sobbing.  The trajectory of her life has been altered permanently by actions of unspeakable evil.

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