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Judy Farah Headshot

God, Why? A Possible Answer

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She asked the question many of us are asking after the school shooting in Connecticut on Friday.

"God, why do you take her?"

This question was asked via Twitter by the younger sister of 27-year-old Victoria Soto, who is being hailed as a heroine for saving the lives of her students while giving up her own. Soto hid her students in cabinets and closets while telling the shooter, whom she confronted, that they went to the gym. For her courage, the coward shot and killed her. She is a beautiful young woman with a wonderful, extended family. One of the iconic photos of that horrific day is of one of her sisters crying in anguish into her cell phone, wondering the fate of her beloved sister.

Another sister, known only to me through Twitter as @ICarlee23, or Carlee Soto, asked that question of God: Why did you take my sister?

I responded by telling her the story of Father Mychal Judge. A recovering alcoholic, he comforted the homeless, the sick, victims of AIDS and those suffering from addictions such as his. The heroic Catholic priest and chaplain for the New York City Fire Department rushed to the 9/11 terrorist attack and gave Last Rites to victims. Unfortunately, Father Mychal became the first official victim of Sept. 11 when he was hit in the head and killed by falling debris from the collapsing south tower.

Again, back then, the question came up: Why him? Why would God take a man of God who was so needed in that moment?

I can't quite remember who told me why. Maybe it was my best friend Brenda who was married by Father Mychal. Maybe it was my personal chaplain, Mindy Russell, head of the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Sacramento who counseled me after we were both at 9/11.

The answer was simple, and pure.

Father Mychal was taken because God needed someone to welcome the more than 2,000 victims home after the attack.

In 140 characters or less, I told young Carlee the story of Father Mychal. I ended it by saying:

"Your sister was needed." As well.

No matter your beliefs, I think you can understand on 9/11, you wanted someone to comfort the victims, as now you would want someone to hug the 20 fallen First Graders of 12/14. On that horrible Friday in December, 27-year-old Victoria Soto, by all accounts a very popular, gifted and much loved young teacher, in my belief, was needed to be there to have a loving, familiar face to take the children's hands as they entered God's Heaven. Where they will be forever 6 and 7 years old, in the arms of a loving teacher.