I remember once when I was really young I was at a friend’s house for the night and we were watching a movie on TV, it was called The Flood: Who Will Save Our Children? I remember it was about students dying in a huge flood, flashes of a person, or body, being washed into a barbed wire fence, teachers identifying bodies. I remember I was sort of crying, but trying to hide it. I sat behind everyone else and wiped away the tears as soon as they feel, and breathed through my mouth. In the ads we’d play games, crawling around the couches and playing with some toys, and I would try and act really happy even though there was a huge lump in my throat, because the other girls there didn’t seem to care about the TV show or even be particularly interested. I tried to make out that our game was really fun, so that after the ads they wouldn’t want to go back and watch more, but they always did.
Reading the news lately gives me the same feeling. Last week six students and a teacher were killed in a flash flood while canyoning on a school trip in the Central North Island of New Zealand. The party was from a Christian school in Auckland, two students and their local instructor survived. Reading articles about this tragedy, about the heroism, the promise shown by the students, the survivors’ stories, the reaction of the families, the school community and others, it all just makes me cry. Actually cry.
Last term in my Dickens class at uni we were talking about sentimentalism. “What is sentimentalism?” I think we decided it was showing a disproportionate amount of emotion or something like that… anyway it made me wonder whether crying at newspaper articles would be considered by some to be sentimental? I think I would feel sad for anyone who thought that.
What makes these stories particularly… piercing, is that I identify so much with these kids – young Christians, I feel like I recognise more than just their favourite music. I read about their beloved teacher Tony McClean and I see other young Christian guys who’ve lead trips I’ve been on.
It just makes me cry.