Tears on the Steering Wheel

Yesterday morning I loaded up my two kids for the library, because when life gets crazy there is something about taking them to the classic haven of the library that feels just right.  The smell of paper and wooden puzzles ground me and I can feel the weight of questioning and wisdom of all the hearts behind the pages, every one with a soul just like mine.

As we pulled in the adjacent lot and looked for a spot that would shade our black van from the heat my head swam with the weight of this week.  So many words lodged in anger, hate and misunderstanding.

Without planning to I plopped my head down on the steering wheel and wept and Noelle pleaded with me to “be okay and take a deep breath.”  There are no words I can give a three year old that communicate how much bigger problems can get.

She lives blissfully unaware that mental illness can cause someone to shoot children at a movie theater and an off handed interview comment can flood the world with days of divided raging.

When she walks into preschool every kid hugs her and shouts “Noelle!” like she’s Norm walking into cheers.  Why can’t it stay like that?  Those three year olds will likely tear each other apart before graduation day, the hugs will stop and the differences will seem to be the most important.

I wept because I am head over heels in love with the word of God and also in love with the gay teenager whose history of bullying makes suicide sound better than returning to school.

As I cried, I longed for heaven.  I marveled at how burying my parents didn’t bring this deep a desire to be done with this world as these two weeks of ugly violence and hate have.

Then I stepped into God’s shoes and shed a few more tears.  My children often bicker over the ball popping elephant or who gets to close the front door but they’re too young to really hurt each other.

I hope I never have to reflect on a day when they rip each other’s hearts apart, because I imagine that’s what heaven’s feeling after this week.  You see, chicken man, terrified gay teen, self-righteous pastor, Lesbian Activist and me, we are all his kids.  Loved more fiercely and deeply than I love these two kids strapped in car seats, eager to tear up the library.

And in this hot, painful week, more than weigh in with an opinion, I am burdened with his heart of love that seems to go sadly unnoticed in the fray.

So many voices rising up in protest to tear down people they’ve never met and certainly don’t understand.

I want to feast on his word and at the same time encourage all of us sinners that no one with a mega phone or a can of spray paint can steal God’s love for them.

My sweet friend Joy Cannis shared this with me during a quote giveaway and it’s shaping the way that Kel and I love and teach our children to love:

“The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded and to say, “I was wrong.” ~Sydney J Harris

And that’s all I have to say about that.

  • Mark Allman

    I wish that had been all that we as Christians had said this week. In a world where is seems everyone chooses to be offended I want us to not go on the attack with every perceived slight. I want us to have a better understanding of how God wants us to respond to this world we live in; that we seek to include the excluded; that our response to attacks is a refusal to take up our arms needlessly, that we seek to understand others without judging them, that we hold out a hand to those who may be drowning in a pit of despair, and to make the world a better place because we live in it not the opposite.

    • elf

      Addressing the sins of others with compassion and kindness, as Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well, is one of the more difficult tasks that I struggle with as a christian. The world will do as it pleases, and the world can take it up with their Maker at the appropriate time, and I can not and will not try to control those outside of the christian community. Within the christian community, we do have some accountability to one another, and I believe this is what the writer of this blog is trying to address. Hatred and petty demonstrations rarely change the mind of the world, but perhaps compassion, kindness, and forgiveness can. It is a difficult balance to recognize sin for sin, but to respond with a loving attitude. When did Jesus display righteous indignation – when those within the religious community (the pharisees and the moneychangers at the temple) were not living their lives to glorify God. I praise my Lord and God for the love he gives me, and want to learn more how to respond in kind to him and others.
      BTW – the graphic nature of your post was unecessary for your point. Just sayin’.

  • Mark Allman

    Printed out that quote for my family and posted it on the kitchen cabinet.

  • http://addingaburden.com Jill

    Graciously said Leanne. I have been so angry at my brothers and sisters in Christ this week. I have wanted to speak out a number of times but I can’t figure out a way to “be angry but do not sin.” Got the anger part down… the “not sinning” part, less so. You said everything I wanted to say with much more grace. Thank you.

    • http://staceydaze.blogspot.com stacey

      ((hugs)) I agree.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      Thank you Jill, It’s been a hard week for getting heart stuff into tangibles that don’t make it all seem worse. (it’s late… does that make sense?)

  • Grandpa

    Well said, Leanna! Gods love will all ways shine thru.

  • Heather Tiger

    Beautiful dear friend, absolutely well said.

  • http://www.jasonziebart.com Jason Ziebart

    My young boys remind me daily about Jesus’ instruction to His disciples about becoming like a child. Matthew 18 for any interested.

    • http://inmysecretgarden.wordpress.com Susan

      That pretty well sums it up for me. Thank you.

      • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

        you’re welcome, thanks for chiming in and loving well.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      Absolutely a passage that resonates with me on this whole thing.

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    • Sarah

      Hello, thank you for your post. Regards from Germany.

  • Steve Hinderhofer

    thanks for sharing some reality which we can all grasp onto

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      You’re absolutely welcome.

  • http://www.steeringwheelsshop.com Steering Wheels Shop

    Theres very few people with your profile that get involved so heavily with their readers.

    • jenny

      As a gay christian hurting from what has transpired, thank you. I can’t say it enough…

      • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

        Amen, so happy to be a little light.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for posting this. I confessed to my BF (an atheist, interestingly enough) that I had had enough of christianity and wanted nothing more to do with them. She advised not letting those christians who are screaming the loudest be the only christian voices I listened to. Your whisper is much more comforting. So again, thank you.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      She is absolutely right, it’s rough when the voice of truth gets lumped in with the voice of hate.

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