Sunday, January 9, 2011
Christina-Taylor: A Face of Hope
As The Washington Post and other media reported this weekend, "Christina-Taylor Green's short life was pinned between two national tragedies: She was born on September 11, 2001, and she died Saturday as a gunman apparently targeting Representative Gabrielle Giffords shot 20 people in Tucson".
Reading of little Christina-Taylor made me wish I'd had the chance to know her. I immediately felt tears in my eyes as I read of the nine year old's recent election to her elementary school's student council, and of how proud she'd been to have been featured as one of 50 babies born on the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in a book called Faces of Hope.
I'd first heard of the Arizona shooting on Saturday when a scrolling news feed went across my laptop's screen as I was looking up the local forecast. I gasped and my daughter, who was sitting next to me on the couch, quickly asked, "What's wrong, Mom?" But it wasn't until today that I learned the identity of the victims.
Representative Giffords is in the hospital and will hopefully recover. However, killed yesterday was a Federal Judge, John Roll, who was heading home after a trip to church. He had stopped briefly to visit with Rep. Giffords. Two women in their 70s were also killed, as was a 30 year old communications outreach director who had worked for Gifford for four years. Each of the lives taken is tragic. But of course, being a mom, it was the news of little Christina-Taylor that broke my heart. She had just received her first Holy Communion at St. Odilia's Catholic Church in Tucson. At the tender age of nine, she is reported to have had a very mature appreciation of life and often repeated the same phrase to her mother: "We are so blessed. We have the best life".
As on the day of Christina-Taylor's birth, I wanted to be upfront with my children about the day's events. I chose my words carefully so as not to frighten them unnecessarily, but I spoke with honest emotion. "That's really sad" was their response. Yeah. It is.
I can't make sense of such tragedies but I can continue to pray for those affected by the world's nonsensical acts of violence. And I can continue to teach my children to do the same. As we are all encouraged to participate in a moment of silence on Monday, January 10th at 11:00am, I hope that everyone will think of little Christina-Taylor and of the other victims of Saturday's shooting, and perhaps we can all hold one another a little bit tighter and strengthen our resolve to promote peace.