As the editor of this blog that is committed to serving all moms who call the Red Stick home, I am constantly dreaming up topics that could benefit our audience. I’m writing lines in my head as I shower, typing a quick note on my phone with one hand while holding the baby with the other, bouncing ideas off our team … you get the idea. I have always loved to write; it is one of the joys of my life. And since being gifted with the privilege of becoming a mother, a job so sacred for which I have much passion, writing about all things mom has been perhaps the most gratifying assignment I’ve had to date.
But I have to be honest with you, friends. After watching the multiple tragedies unfold both in our fair city and those just a few states over within the last two weeks, the topics I had been so excited to write about now seem trivial, albeit meaningless.
You see, I have been shaken. Shaken to my core. As I mourn with those who have lost the ones they love the most, I am also fearful. The safety of my family feels threatened, violated. I catch myself looking over my shoulder more often. I’m not sleeping well. My right eye has developed a twitch. If my children didn’t already sleep in our bed, you can bet they would be now. I’m imagining possible scenarios of attacks and how I might react to best protect my family. When I’m in the car with my kids, I am constantly checking the rearview mirror to make sure they are both there, even though I know full well they are. I fantasize about just driving (read: running) far, far away. But where to? There is no running from this. No running from the world in which we live.
This is not normal behavior or rational trains of thought, I know. This is the effect of fear. But then again, an alligator dragging a toddler down into the water is not normal. The murder of a young performer at a concert is not normal. Massacre of the innocent is not normal — and all occurring in the same state to add insult to injury. I’m not suggesting a conspiracy or anything of the sort. What I am saying is that when so many horrible incidents take place seemingly within the same breadth, it can be too overwhelming, too painful, too much to process. As I fight back tears as I type, I’ve been shaken in a way that can’t be easily mended.
So where do we go from here? How do we begin the road to healing? I do not personally know anyone involved in any of these events that have occurred here locally or in Orlando, and I can’t even begin to fathom these questions myself let alone had I lost a friend or family member in this way. Yet somehow — much to our surprise — life goes on even amidst the tragic, and we have to keep on living. As I pray for the situations happening in our world, I ask God to strengthen my own faith and find true rest in Him because I am truly terrified right now.
… all these emotions/thoughts/prayers are muddling through my head this morning as my girls and I are getting ready to leave for the day for an outing. I am putting on my shoes in silence and deep in thought. And then out of nowhere, my three-year-old says,
Stop running, Mommy.
What did you say?
I’m not running.
Yes you are. You’re running with your feet.
Needless to say, I wasn’t running at that moment, which is why her words struck me so. Stop running. It felt like the Holy Father was speaking to me right then and there, in perhaps the only way I could, the only way I would listen to Him. Through my child. Because that’s exactly what I want to do right now. Take my kids and R U N.
Stop running. Rest in Me. Trust Me. I am in control.
My daughter’s message has stayed with me all day; a message I believe was spoken through her. Stop running. I am realizing that I have two choices here. I can give in to my fears and let hate win by allowing it to control my actions. Which is not really living at all. Or I can acknowledge that I am afraid (and that’s okay), while continuing to fight for love. I can mourn with those who mourn. I can pray. I can love my family each day. I can be so grateful. I can rest in the hope that there is a Savior who will one day right every wrong and heal every wound. I can write about the things I was excited to write about on this blog just 2 weeks ago. Because they are not meaningless. And life is not meaningless. There is still purpose and there is still good.
Back to the exchange with my toddler this morning, which I will never forget. I looked her in the eye and simply said,
Okay baby, I’ll stop running.
Whether she knows it or not, I made her a promise in that statement. A promise I will intentionally and purposefully try my very best to keep. I will stop running.
If recent events have affected you in a big way, know that you are not alone. I encourage you to share your feelings and be vulnerable with someone whether it be your spouse, a friend or family member or even me if you are moved to do so. Find someone who will listen. Chances are, we all share this fear on some level. And if we hold tightly to one another – hold tightly to love — instead of running, we can stand together in stride.