This morning, like many, we were running a smidge behind schedule. So we had a hasty prayer, and sent everyone out the door. Like many mornings, the calls were “Bye Mom, love you!” Sometimes, if we’re not rushed, they have time for a quick hug with me. Today, though they all bounded out the door, away from me, as I called out, “Bye! I love you!”
Then a minute later, Ezra walked back in the door. He’s usually the first one out and gone, excited for a great day in first grade. If he ever returns it’s because he’s forgotten something. “What’s up bud?” I asked as he rushed back into the house. He came to me, and wrapped his arms around me in a tight hug. “I love you, bye!” he said. And out again he was.
I watched a video this weekend of a father grieving the loss of his daughter, slain in the Parkland shooting last week. “I can’t remember if I said ‘I love you’ to her that morning. Sometimes she runs out the door too fast. I can’t remember.” And my heart ached for that father.
We get so little time with our kids. The majority of a long life is lived in adulthood. We get less than two decades of their time, their full attention, their company. As they age, they pull away, gently pulling the bandaid off until in the end, they rip it off the rest of the way with a smile and wave as they saunter off to college, or into the MTC, or to their first apartment. 18 years. That’s what we get.
And that isn’t long enough, in the earthly scheme of things. It’s a fraction of a blink, really.
So, after spending entirely too much time reading pro-gun-control opinion pieces, and way too many “it’s not the guns” posts, and just too much noise, I now must pause. I have to stop ranting and raving to my poor husband who is my captive audience. I must stop being afraid.
I am spurred to action.
The hug from Ezra this morning, rare in its spontaneity and genuinity has solidified in my heart: I must stop being afraid.
What am I afraid of? I fear always for my children’s safety, their health, their spiritual well-being. I fear that they won’t get to grow up safe and whole. I fear that the world will steal their innocence. I fear that they will hurt unnecessarily.
But I also fear my own voice. I am afraid to speak up, to share what I believe, and how I live it. I am afraid to say what is truth because I don’t want to argue, especially with friends and people I love. I am afraid to hurt feelings, mostly my own. I fear my opinion is uninformed, is based on “fake news”, is built on emotion rather than intelligence. I fear looking or sounding stupid.
But you know what? Screw it. I can’t live a life driven and dictated by fear. Because what if that fear of myself that I have ends up causing the things I fear most for my kids? It’s freaking selfish to be afraid of myself. I can’t do that. It’s not fair to my children.
When we made the heart-rendering decision to stop homeschooling and send our kids to public school, I was afraid for them. They’d never been, I feared they’d be behind, they’d struggle, they wouldn't’ fit in. I feared they wouldn’t be safe. Like most fears, it was simply the fear of the unknown. It took great faith to send my kids to school. And it’s been exactly what they needed. It was a blessing.
I am tired of children getting killed in this country. I’m tired of hunger, homelessness, I’m tired of racism, patriarchy, hate, politics, and anger. I’m tired of fear.
I believe in Christ. I believe that He lives and that His perfect love casts out all fear. I am casting out that fear and clasping Jesus’ hand as I say the following:
I vow to use this little platform for good. To do good, speak truth, pray for those who need prayers, be a friend to anyone who needs it.
I wrote all my representatives this weekend, asking them to look deeper into guns, school shootings, and what can be done to protect our kids. Can you write to them too? Tell them what you think needs to happen. They might not listen, but that’s not your fault or your problem.
Speak. Try it out. It’s amazing.
Tell the people who are important to you how you feel about them. Love them.
Try to be kind. Try a little harder.
Be a helper.
Stop arguing on the internet.
There’s an amazing song, sung by Amanda Cook. The chorus is:
What if the path you choose becomes a road
The ground you take becomes a home
The wind is high, but the pressure’s off
I’ll send the rain wherever we end up, wherever we end up
I am trusting God to send the rain, wherever I end up. I haven’t a clue where this is taking me. I’m leaping into unknown open air. But I’m done with fear. I’m done with not acting because of fear. I’m going to love the hell outta my family, and do whatever it takes to do what God’s calling me to do.
And I invite you to do the same.