I guess it’s unavoidable now.
It was really unavoidable so long ago, like, Garden of Eden long ago.
But it’s different now.
For those before us, painful experiences were part of the everyday. You died foraging for food. You caught an illness, and a day later, someone buried you. You crossed another tribe or settler the wrong way, and you were taken out without a second thought.
It wasn’t supposed to be that way, we’re told in the Good Book.
Those before us accepted that life was messy, and ugly, and full of hurt and pain. And yet, those before us held a greater faith and a much greater reliance on the One who seems to have orchestrated such catastrophes.
It couldn’t have been anyone else, right? Wouldn’t an Omniscient Creator know these things would occur before he breathed life into Adam? Why would He choose it this way?
That thought, that a supposedly loving God could also wreak such havoc, it turns some of us cold.
Where does that leave the believer, always clinging to faulty human hope because our spiritual hope can’t always be seen?
We want so badly to believe the good in people and then they let us down.
We want so badly to love the Earth, yet it frightens us with horrific weather patterns and roaring seas.
We desperately crave the wrong kind of LOVE and acceptance in a time of growing apathy and coldness.
Where do we go from here?
We’ve been lulled, our generation, even with numerous wars, famines, diseases, assassinations, terrorist attacks, and outright lies by the very governments we’ve put into place, the very men and women who have
begged convinced us to trust them, into believing all can be well.
But all is not well.
We see it on our children’s faces. Last night on my family’s way to eat, after we’d prayed both for Paris and a pastor who’d lost his wife in a home invasion, I turned around and saw a look of struggle on my oldest son’s face.
He’s the inquisitive one, the most cynical of my four gifts. The son who told me he loved Jesus but didn’t like church people. The child who questions right and wrong and is growing up too fast because of what he’s been forced to see and hear.
They all are.
There aren’t enough filters in the world to cover what a child can uncover on a smart phone. And most of us don’t even bother with filters in the first place.
Our children are still children, yet they are being thrust into an adult world of war, and sex, and violence, and fear, and we are partly to blame.
Our children are being forced to endure constant images of bombings, and school shootings, and diseases and weather patterns seemingly out of our control, and home invasions, and human trafficking, and cyber bullying.
Such adult issues. How can little minds even deal with such things?
No bother, really. We’ve given them so much anxiety over school testing and whether or not they have the best of this or are the greatest at that. They must shrug off the other stuff to make room for worry-to-the-point-of-suicide over these all too important things.
But I suppose it’s better that way. I’d rather my child focus on what he can change, rather than what is beyond his control. After all, these times we live in, they could all be part of God’s very confounding Plan of Redemption. Though we don’t understand it, we cling to the Hope of His Glorious Return.
Until then, I know what my family will do:
We will conquer evil with LOVE. Not the mushy and fake, “have your way” kind of love that everyone wants these days, but genuine LOVE, starting with God, focused on our family, and trickling down to everyone around us.
We will go to the imperfect church and worship a Perfect God.
We will spend as much time as we can together, because God LOVES family and gave it to us for a reason.
We will pray for and help those who are suffering, first within our own community, then our state and country, and hopefully reaching into the world.
We will turn off the twenty-four hour news and recognize it is not TRUTH–news is a product for sale that we buy into like fools.
We will try hard to shield our eyes and heart from the things that don’t allow LOVE to flourish.
We will trust and not grow cynical, practicing our duty to vote and praying daily for our leaders.
We will not allow Satan to paralyze us with fear.
We will eat, drink, and be merry. Yes, we will ENJOY these short days we have on Earth.
On that note…Yesterday I took my gifts to the park.
I’ve spent so much of this year meditating on the present, as opposed to lamenting the hurts and sins of my past or worrying about the troubles of my future.
I’ve tried so hard to soak in all those ordinary little moments, the childhood days that are so fleeting. I’ve learned from watching my own parents and in-laws the sadness and nostalgia that envelopes a parent when they realize it really is over–their babies are grown and gone.
The passing of time is just another sin, really. One more part of our fallen world the Redeemer will Reclaim.
My babies were twirling on the tire swings, smiles beaming, laughter echoing, the afternoon sun breaking through pine trees and illuminating their little angel faces.
Bear said, “Oh, Mama, I’m livin’ the day.”
I knew what he’d meant to say. We all want to ‘live the dream,’ whatever it is we’re so sure if we could just grab a hold of, if God would just grant that tiny wish–that next bigger thing, that perfect world, that thorn removed–life would be perfect. We’d have no need for the One who Pours out Grace.
It’s a lie.
So I laughed at my baby boy as I twirled him faster and higher.
“You’re right, Bear,” I said. “We are livin’ the day.”
And that’s all we can do.