Re-Post – No Words (A Response to the Connecticut School Shooting)

The following Guest Post is from Jeff Goins, another blogger and author of WRECKED.  I asked his permission to share it with you. He expresses our feelings towards this tragedy quite eloquently.

Blog Update from Jeff Goins, Writer

No Words (A Response to the Connecticut School Shooting)

I just saw this tragic story on the news and this quote from a parent struck me:

There’s no words that I could come up with that would even come close to describing the sheer terror of hearing that your son is in a place… where there’s been violence.

Photo credit: Adrees Latif, ReutersPhoto credit: Adrees Latif, Reuters

President Obama attempted to offer some words of his own, describing the school shooting in Connecticut:

They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own… Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children.

20 kids dead. Several teachers who had dedicated their lives to educating these little ones, to giving them hope for a future — also dead. All of that taken away.

As a writer, I want to say something. But as a parent, I cannot.

I believe language has power and impact, that it can be a salve to our wounds. But not today. Today, I have no words.

If I did, they might be “awful” or “unimaginable” — even “appalling.” But none of those seems to capture the intensity, the pain, of what has transpired today. None seems appropriate.

So today I am reminded that sometimes no words are in order.

When tragedy strikes, we want to have the right words to say, because something really ought to be said. We are uncomfortable with the silence and fear our lack of words will communicate indifference.

But we forget that sometimes silence can be louder than our strongest voice.

At times like this, the Jewish custom of Shiva seems to offer the most comfort. Instead of saying something, perhaps the most appropriate thing to do is to simply sit with the suffering. To not say but show we are with those in mourning.

Maybe it’s a prayer offered or a candle lit, even a hand on the knee or a person’s presence in a room. At our times of greatest despair, we don’t need words of consolation or an explanation of what “God’s plan” is in all of this mess. We just don’t want to feel alone.

Tragedy has a devious way of isolating those in suffering, making them feel they have to bear this burden alone.

The best way we can love those who have lost so much is to show them that they are not on their own. That we are, indeed, with them. I don’t know how we do that virtually for strangers, from thousands of miles away, but it’s worth trying to figure out.

After all, it’s one thing to say, “Tomorrow’s another day.” It’s quite another to sit through the darkness of night and wait for daybreak together. 

Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.
—Henri Nouwen

Thank yo Jeff for allowing me to share your thoughts. You speak for us all in the aftermath of this tragedy.

You can find other posts from Jeff at

Judy Guion


8 thoughts on “Re-Post – No Words (A Response to the Connecticut School Shooting)

  1. Harbin77 says:

    I just cannot imagine the thought of losing any of my kids or grand kids. I know even now when My 5 &3 year old grandkids come over I look at and hug them in an all new way and I cherish my time with them even more than ever. My heart hurts and my thought and prayers go out to all the people who have lost loved one prematurely.

  2. Mrs. P says:

    In situations like this, No Words is the most honorable and respectful thing you can do for those intimately affected by this tragedy. I abhor media sensationalism of others pain and was comforted by Jeff’s thoughts. Thank you for sharing them on your blog.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      So much of what the media said “to fill air time” was either inaccurate or pure speculation. It saddens me to see so many trying to capitalize on this tragedy – or so many other tragedies across the world – when this is not the time. We may never know the whole, accurate story, but does that really matter? There will be no trial, no jury verdict. So why don’t we all allow the families and friends of those who will never tell their part in the story grieve in private.

  3. jaggh53163 says:

    I can’t begin to imagine the agony of family, relatives and friends of all who were lost last Friday. I pray for each of them.

  4. gpcox says:

    No one should out-live their child. The pain is constant. My heart goes out to the entire town.

  5. Gallivanta says:

    To sit quietly with the suffering or the mourning is a wonderful custom.

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