The day started with a visit to Peabody Elementary School.
Our oldest child, Maddox, is 4-years old. He was excited about our tour of the kindergarten he will attend in a short 9 months.
As we entered the school, Maddox strode forward with a bounce in his step ready to enter "the real world." Holly and I felt a bit different. We always knew this day would come, but it's so hard to believe the day had actually arrived.
The words I've heard from Rick Atchley rang through my head as we entered the doors, "The days drag on, but the years fly by."
We had a great tour of the school. The principal showed us around and answered all of our questions. She was specifically sure to allay our fears as best she could about the security of the school. She assured us about the security cameras, locked exterior doors, and had lockdown drills in the event of an emergency. It has been said that sending your kid to school is like your heart walking around outside of your body. It was obvious that the principal understood that feeling.
After we got back in the car, Holly mentioned how awful it is to live in a world where students have to prepare for lock-down drills.
Less than three hours later and fewer than two miles away, Littleton Public Schools (including Peabody Elementary) went into lockdown mode after reports of gunshots being fired at Arapahoe High School.
Early reports indicate that a student was shot and the shooter died of a self-induced gunshot wound.
This one hits home. Arapahoe High School is the closest high school to the church where I preach, the Littleton Church of Christ. We have several youth group students who attend the school. Thankfully all are safe and accounted for.
In a first-world country like the United States, we have a certain expectancy about seeing our kids again when we drop them off at school. We take our morning "good-byes" for granted as our kids leave for school. And that makes events like these so difficult to process as parents of schoolchildren.
Events like these shatter our assumptions and cheapen our cliches, which is its own kind of gift. With this gift, comes tighter hugs, more "I love you's," and greater thanks to God for the miracles each day that we fail to acknowledge.
We're months away from sending Maddox to school, but I'll never forget this day.
It was the day when school seemed more imminent and unsafe.
"The days drag on, but the years fly by."
Lord, have mercy!