It was our annual Cookie Day, where the "girls" get together and bake, and boys and kids can come in time for dinner and to eat cookies and everyone gets to take cookies home. It is always a no holds barred conversation while we mix, roll and bake, and it is a day we wouldn't miss for anything.
Over the years we have been through sickness and health, lost grandparents and parents, survived cancer, had babies and more babies. The net result is that as I had the first children, they are the oldest and took on looking after the 6 kids under 6 years. When I went to check on them, my son had a gash under his eye inflicted by one of the kids and he sardonically said "welcome to hell". He smiled as he said it and dabbed disinfectant on the cut. Later on he came up for a cookie and asked "Can you smell the brimstone?" He did go back downstairs though, and we knew he would be ok.
Hell, true hell, would be what many families in Newtown, Conneticut experienced today when they dropped their children off at school in the morning and will come back to identify the body of their slain child. I can't imagine, most of us cannot imagine what devastation this would bring and will be lucky enough to never know. This is not the first and sadly not the last time we will see shootings in malls or schools, but it is always wrong.
Other versions of Hell are what many people live through every day, not ever having enough to eat, or not being warm at night. Those that suffer from addiction or abuse. There are many around us who know this as their daily routine, in the cities and towns where we live.
Perhaps this is the right time of year to spend some time being a little kinder, and more thoughtful and reach out to those in need, in large or small ways as you can. As the season marches towards its inevitable conclusion, hug your loved ones.