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.