Love

This has been a tough week.

I know you all feel the weight of the wrong in the world today, just as I do. It seems like every time we turn around, there is yet another story of violence. Hate. Bigotry. Discrimination. Bullying. Rape. Murder. The list could go on and on. The media inundates us with story after story of what is wrong with the world. Sometimes it feels as if our lives are becoming darker and darker each day. “The end is near!’ is a popular opinion on any news story you see posted to Facebook.”Where is your God?!” is another comment I see posted quite often.

He’s there, friends. He is there.

On Monday I watched in horror with the rest of the world as we received the new of the Las Vegas shooting. As I write this post, the current casualty count is 59 killed and 500 injured. I had the news on all day, and I just couldn’t really put into words my feelings. In the aftermath of these types of situations there are so many conversations that need to be had, but all I could think of was those children.

(Because every person there was someone’s child.)

I think about the parents that are grieving today. That will never again see their kids. The parents who desperately waited for news of their child’s safety. The parents who were present with their children; those who were scared out of their minds that they wouldn’t be able to protect their child.

I think of them, and I pray for them. I pray for all of them. Each and every person who was present, those who were lost, those who were injured, those who responded to help, and those who will continue to search for answers in the weeks to come.

And then I think of my own child. I feel enormous fear that we live in a world where I have to worry about my child being shot as he enjoys a concert. How can I protect him? How in the world do I keep him safe?

I can’t. And as a parent, that is the most frightening thing.

I wonder – should I have this conversation with him? Do I tell him what happened? I want to protect him. He’s only 7! In his world, everyone is good and no one is evil. He’s so innocent still. I begin to wonder: should I discuss with him what to do in an active shooter situation? He is prone to anxiety and nightmares. Will I scare him? Will he worry? It’s my job to keep him safe and I feel as if I’m failing.

There are no right answers here, friends.

I realized Monday that I have precious few options. I can’t keep him safe. His safety isn’t up to me. The fact of the matter is that I could be standing right beside him, and if it was his time to go, he would go. God alone knows the number of his days on this Earth, and I’ve only been entrusted to his care while he’s here on Earth.

So what do I do?

I have the uncomfortable conversations. We talk about what to do in an active shooter situation. We discuss the drills he has already had at school. I ask him if he has any questions, and he says — “but Mom, why? Why did this man shoot people?

I wish I could tell you that I had a perfect answer to that question, but I did not.

“I don’t know, baby. I don’t know why bad people do the things they do. Sometimes people are just full of darkness, and the only way to fight darkness is with light.”

We had a conversation about how he needs to be the light of the world, and about how by letting his light shine before others, he may lead people to Jesus.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let you light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5: 14-16

As Cooper gets older, we will have many different conversations about what it means to be both salt and light in the world. His “good deeds” will change and evolve as he does. But for now, I’m just teaching him to love.

“What do I do?” he asks me.

“Love. All you can do is love.

Love the people that are different. Love the ones that don’t look like you. Love the ones that are richer, or poorer, than you. Love the ones that are bullies, that mock you, that call you names. Love the ones that sit alone at lunch. Love the ones that play by themselves on the playground. Notice people. Notice the people who are sad. The people who are anxious. The people who are lonely.

Love them all.

Every day when Cooper gets out of the car I say “make sure to show someone Jesus’s love!” and every day when I pick him up I say “who did you help today?”

This is what I can do. I can teach my child love.

It starts with us, friends. Any change starts at home, with our own families. Don’t just say “I love you” but show your kids what that really means. Show them the depths of God’s love for us, and try every day to show that same sacrificial love to others we come in contact with.

Love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

 

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