By Cynthia Aldinger
Sing choirs of angels
Sing in exultation
Sing all ye citizens of heaven above
In the spirit of wanting to support the anguished families of those whose children perished in the recent tragedy in Connecticut, I offer the following thoughts for us to hold on their behalf.
How do we mourn and celebrate at the same time? Perhaps the closest we come is when we attend a memorial service for a loved one who has lived a fully expressed life.
When young lives have seemingly senselessly ceased, celebrating is eclipsed by the mourning. How do we make sense of what feels senseless? My own small thinking does not seem capable of it. My aching heart draws a glimmer of understanding only when I stretch my solace-seeking soul toward a bigger picture.
As is often the case, I find this glimmer in the writings and lectures of Rudolf Steiner who recognized, beyond most seekers, a strikingly profound awareness of the eternal nature of being. And within that awareness, he also shared an astonishingly beautiful picture of the caring, ever-present nature of one’s guardian angel.
The deep breath, the one that comes between the cries of despair, is the knowledge that these young souls were never apart from the loving, devoted embrace of their guardian angels. “Outrage,” we might cry! If they were present, why did they not shield these innocents from destruction? Why did they not link their wings together and barricade the doors? Why did they not snuff out the evil before it could bring such unspeakable harm? Surely this protection has happened before in other places and other circumstances. Why did this not happen this time?
A much larger picture than I can share must hold the answer to that question. It is a picture so large that it likely would not offer immediate comfort to those suffering the greatest loss. I do not suggest it in order to bring comfort as much as to open our minds in the direction of understanding. Suffer we must, lest we become hardened, cold and bereft of hope. Not to mourn would be akin to turning away, not looking, not allowing ourselves to sense the immensity of the pain of the families of these innocents.
When children cross the threshold it is different from those who have lived full lives. I believe it is true that they have a more immediate sense of reuniting with their spiritual home, of being lovingly held in the arms of the angels who are devoted to them for now and lifetimes to come, for all eternity. It is not that the spiritual beings do not suffer along with us that such tragedies occur. Being witness to how evil overtakes one innocent and uses him to destroy multiple other innocents is painful for all beings to witness.
Unlike us, perhaps the heavenly choir can more readily adapt, can more readily sing in exultation, knowing that the stories of all those children are not over. Their eternal beings have whole chapters, whole biographies still to unfold. While we may not be able to console, at least not immediately, the families who mourn, perhaps we can, on their behalf, hold this picture in our minds – a picture of their dear sweet ones singing now as citizens of heaven above.