Friday, December 21, 2012

And the Greatest of These is Love

China is currently 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Last Saturday morning we drove to Wuhan to attend our Zhong Relations Christmas Party.  It was super fun and Leila looked super cute in her red Christmas sweater from Gram.  I kept thinking I should get her picture, but never did... there's still time!

It was at the party that I first heard the terrible news about Sandy Hook Elementary.  It was mentioned and was prayed for specifically, but we didn't yet have much information about it.  

We drove back to Huangshi that night and started exploring internet news.  It was too much.  I wanted to know more but couldn't bear it.  It wasn't as much the articles that we were reading, it was the pictures.  I couldn't bear to see people so distraught, so grieved.  As a new mother, an aunt of elementary school boys, and especially as a teacher, the pain hit me hard. 

The next night I tried again.  I read articles.  I found out that the principal had just completed her first paper for her doctoral course.  It was an on-line program.  (This also was so real to me as Brad and I JUST finished our Master's degree.  All of our classes have been on-line.)  I heard an excerpt from her professor.  The students had turned in their papers earlier that week.  The topic had been about facing one's fears.  Friday morning the professor heard about the shootings, but then turned her attention to her work.  She read Dawn Hochsprung's paper the morning of the shooting.   

Understanding first hand the time, attention, and emotion needed in order to write a powerful paper, I was convinced that Mrs. Hochsprung's paper in some way prepared her for the fear that would ultimately take her life.    

I continued searching the news sites.  I wanted desperately to know more.  I spotted several pictures of the children.  My stomach turned and my heart ached.  I couldn't close my computer fast enough.  Again, I was sick for the rest of the night. 

Monday night I finally looked at the pictures.  The pictures of the children were so cute and their bios were so sweet.  I loved each of them.  But it was the pictures and bios of the teachers that pierced my heart the most.   

They sacrificed their lives to protect their students.   

What if I had been a teacher in that situation.  Would I have known what to do?  Would I have been able to be so brave?  The fact that I even had to ask myself that question made me weep. 

It has been the faces and stories of these teachers that have continued to capture my thoughts.

The teachers died defending many students, but they would have died to defend just one.

I get that.  I understand that love.  I feel that love.

A couple mornings ago it finally struck me that the love these teachers had for their students was the same as Christ's love for us.  He died for many, but he would have died to defend and save just one.

I had never quite understood that before.  Christ died for humanity to be saved, but would he have died if humanity was only me?  I never could comprehend that before.

But because of the heroes at Sandy Hook I get that.  I understand that love.  I feel that love.