i am adam lanza’s father

in the story of goldilocks and the three bears a young girl walks through the forest and finds an empty house.  seeing there is no one inside she goes in.  i turn into the parking lot of my daughter’s school and feel a bit lost in the woods myself.  this scene of parents and children walking from their cars to the building, saying goodbye, holding hands, is altered now.

i’m altered now.

the events in connecticut have changed me and there is some simple trust that is not so freely given.  something that this adam has taken away along with so much else.

when she comes into the house she finds that there is porridge on the table and since she is so hungry from her journey, she tries it.  the first bowl is too hot and the next is too cold, but at last she tries baby bear’s bowl and it is just right.

i wonder if anything can sound just right to our ears after this.

i wake up from a nightmare where my son and my daughter have stolen our van and have figured out how to drive it.  i chase after and watch them drive off.  they turn the corner onto a busy street and the next time i see them, the van is flipped over and a man won’t let me near the scene.  it’s dark in my dream and it’s dark when i sit up in bed and look out towards the hallway.

it’s just a dream i tell myself, it’s just a dream.  they’re safe in their beds.  they’re safe in their beds.

my daughter runs towards the doors of her school.  she stops to wave at me one more time and i wave back.  her green, puffy winter coat, her pink backpack, her glasses.  i watch her go.  i turn out of the parking lot and turn on the radio.  a talk show is discussing the tragedy.  the host is taking callers and i hear a man say this ~

“we have a serious problem.  when someone can shoot someone they know at close range and then go to a school and murder 20 kids…there is something wrong with us.  the way that we’re raising our families…something isn’t right when something like this happens.”

i recognize that this is true and the host and his on-air guest thank the caller for his comment and they say this ~

“well, we know what the problem is.  mental illness and the access to guns.  these are the issues we as a nation have to face together so that nothing like this ever happens again.”

the empty space where no caller can say or radio host has words to say we have a spiritual problem speaks loudest to me.

when goldilocks finishes her meal, she heads upstairs and finds three beds.  she’s so tired from her travels.  people of faith are speaking up about the shooting and their voices seem either too hard or too soft.

i wonder if there is a place for anyone to lay down their weary head and sleep sound.

in the bible it says this ~

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.  He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

that’s from the last book of the old testament.  four hundred years before the christmas story begins and it is telling the people that someone will come that would ‘turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents.’  that’s the big promise and it seems almost insignificant there between the dreadful day of the lord and the striking of the land with destruction.

such a small thing.  parents and children having hearts for one another.  but trace the line of pain far back enough in any life and we’re all sitting on freud’s couch talking about our fathers or about our mothers.

it isn’t insignificant at all.  it matters.  it matters a lot.

i don’t know the lanz family.  i read news articles of estrangement, odd behavior and years of neglect.  it is plain that the issues of mental illness and gun control are true there.

that adam lanza’s father hadn’t spoken to his son in almost ten years is also true, it seems.

“He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents.”

part of this tragedy is mental, yes and part of it is physical, also true; but part of it is spiritual and we need to find a way to talk about that.

there is a spirit problem now.  and no pill that we swallow or law that we pass will heal us.  john the baptist is the elijah that the words of scripture are referring to.  the baby born before the babe in the manger.  the one calling out in the wilderness that we need to repent because the kingdom of god is coming.

the imperative to tend our souls and the souls of our children is screaming at us and we are foolish to ignore it.


i don’t even think it matters how one begins love’s recovery.  if one chair is too small and one is too big, don’t give up until you find one that is just right.  if jesus is too much to take then go to a mosque and start to learn to pray, or attempt meditation at a buddhist temple, or rediscover your jewish roots.  take your kids with you.  talk to them about their souls.  anything is better than nothing because everything that rises must converge.

i believe god is big enough to have our roads converge so that the first adam hears this one true thing ~

you are deeply loved by your father in heaven.  

i wonder how often adam lanza heard those words?  i wonder how well his own father incarnated that truth?  if he had, if his heart had been turned towards his father and his father’s heart had been turned towards him, might things be different today?

update:  follow -up post here

5 replies on “ i am adam lanza’s father ”
  1. These are great questions and you’ve wrapped them in an amazing metaphor. I agree that the solution to this problem is more complex than one “fix-it” remedy. And I’m so glad we have a Father in heaven who loves us deeply. Thought-provoking post!

  2. in the wake of the tragedy there are many questions…i think too our problems run much deeper than guns and mental health, though it is a shame when guns are more readily available than the later…even still these are just symptoms….

  3. I still haven’t cried, but I have a sick feeling in my stomach every time I think about it, and your post brings it back. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I think your words capture our groping, as a society, for the why and the what to do next. I was taught that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but I can appreciate what you’re saying about our need for spirituality, in general. I don’t think someone has to be Christian to be kind, and I do think we would be safer if we were kinder.

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