Here in the Netherlands, the weather is fabulous. The sky is bright blue and the temperature is warm. There are flowers popping out all over. A month ago, people were ice skating on the sloot outside our house. Today, children were standing on the grass with fishing poles aimed at the water. This was a perfect early spring day.

But we are sad. The people of the Netherlands, of Belgium and Switzerland are in mourning. By now you have heard the news about the horrible bus crash that killed 22 children and 6 adults. This country is numb. We all want to comfort the families here and in Belgium…but what do you say? What can you possibly say?

When I first heard this news, I confess that I was a cliché. My eyes filled up immediately and I said “I just want to hug our kids.” All you can do is hold on to those that you love and make sure that they know that they are loved.

No matter where these tragedies happen, we as human beings feel. We feel. And we feel helpless. These are small countries and you have to imagine that these countries are like one state in the United States. The intensity of loss is big here, as we are within driving distance of these families and of the crash site.

Tomorrow, Friday, March 16, the flags in Belgium and the Netherlands will be lowered to half mast. The weather forecast is good. Children will be in shirt sleeves, riding their bikes or skateboards. They will be on swings and kicking a ball. They will be making a lot of noise, just so happy to be outside with the sun on their backs. This is what children should be doing across the world.

The Dutch word for children is kinderen. I love this word, as I always see kindness first.

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  • Marty Flint  On March 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Beautiful. I can barely see through my tears to type a response. Really nice.

  • Sandra  On March 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you for reminding me how lucky I am that I can hug my children and grandchildren. Our thoughts are with those who grieve.

  • Aledys Ver  On March 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Very sad, indeed. It really makes you stop to think for a minute that we should make the most of what we have now and give thanks.
    I’ve just come back from Brussels and people over there are still in shock. I attended a service in the cathedral to pray for those kids and their families last Saturday – it was very moving.

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