Bears Repeating from Jess Hill: For Covenant, collateral sorrow and swift love
“The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.”
— W.H. Auden
W.H. Auden’s words haunt us but run true to our feelings. We are all left to wonder how the sun and stars continue to shine after the tragedy experienced at Covenant, our neighboring school in Nashville. How does ordinary life continue? Rushing to work or school, heading to the game or to practice, studying for a test or writing an essay, celebrating a milestone or preparing a meal — all seem shallow and useless. How does the sun dare to shine?
The collateral sorrow our community feels is palpable. Emily Dickinson reminds us that “After great sorrow, a formal feeling comes.” Walking into the theatre filled with students and faculty on Monday afternoon was sobering. One could hear a pin drop with almost 400 upper school girls waiting in their seats. Although the violence did not happen in our halls, our girls are sad, and our parents worried. Meanwhile, our faculty shoulder the inevitable waves of emotion without revealing the truth of their own feelings to their students’ eyes. Our community seems to follow the same, embracing the spirit of Miss Dickinson’s dictum.
Our grief can shift to anger when we acknowledge that innocence has been snatched out of thin air — what we hold dear, vanished. The events of the day bankrupt our language and leave us numb. How do we express a thought or a feeling when reason and logic are beyond our grip and our understanding remains opaque? There is no neat or tidy solution lurking around the corner.
As time creeps forward and we search for meaning, I take some solace from the words of Henri Frederic Amiel. “Life is short, and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the journey with us. Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”
To you, our Covenant friends who are on this journey with us, we hold you in our hearts. And may we all, in this community we value so much, “be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”