“The Ones We Love” by Chaplain Steve McKinney

The day after the recent tragedy in Newtown Connecticut, I was emotionally troubled having watched the events unfold the previous day. I had flashed back to similar feelings of 9/11 and even the tragic loss of my brother in an automobile accident in 1986, each event being different, but yet the pain of grief so much the same.

I always take my son to school each morning before work. Some mornings we talk, and some we just “ride” trying to get started and awake. That day however was very different.

I looked several times over at my son in the car, placing in my memory every inch of his body and wishing I could count the hairs on his head. In the back of my mind, behind the grief of what was happening at Newtown, I felt selfish and guilty for not being more aware, for not cherishing more those few minutes we have together every morning.

As we approached the school, sitting in the walkway to the main entrance was a police car in front of the pillars which were there to keep other cars from entering. It looked more like a prison than a school. My heart sank when my ten year-old son asked me “Is something bad going to happen today Dad”?

How could I answer him? My response was brief. “They are here to make sure that no one comes in that doesn’t belong.” I told him. “You just listen to what your teacher tells you to do, son.” I said.

In our morning meeting at the facility, all hearts were broken. All of our management team are parents and were all deeply troubled by the tragedy. We all shared stories and our concerns and I shared the story about my son. We all prayed. As I left the room, an arm reached out to mine; it was one of our CSM’s named Angela. On a piece of paper she had written this scripture down – it was 2 Timothy 1:7:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Thank God for those around us that provide when we aren’t able. I believe it was God’s way of telling me to “listen to the teacher”!

The opposite of fear is faith. I hope this story helps someone today. It certainly changed my day.

And to everyone today, as we spend those precious moments with those we love, a very Merry Christmas wish to everyone!

Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality

Signature Healthcare of Rogersville