Friday, December 14, 2012

Dear God...

When I was a young girl, my two year old cousin passed away. And for several years after that, I found myself confused about God, and what I believed. When I was 16, I went to the cemetery where my cousin is buried and took her flowers, and I sat by her headstone and I wept as I talked to God. I told God that I didn't understand how he could take a baby like my cousin, someone who had never done anything but shine light on those around her with her love and her smiles. And I looked up to the sky, and I told God that from that moment on, I was no longer a believer. That I was turning my back on him, just as I felt he had turned his back on my cousin when, rather than curing her of her affliction, he instead chose to take her from us. And the sky turned dark, the thunder rolled, and the sky opened up and poured rain down on me in a deluge. And I turned to the sky and I screamed at God that I hoped his heart was broken just like mine. And for years, I stopped talking to God because as far as I was concerned, he didn't exist.

On March 17th, 2010, as I was driving down the interstate in Arkansas with my three month old son in the back seat, I swerved to miss a car in front of me that had slammed on their brakes, and lost control of my car. When the loose shoulder of the road grabbed hold of the front tire of the car and flung me end over end three times into the median, crushing the front, top and back of my car, for the first time in 20 years, I called out to God. Every time the car hit the ground and began to flip over again, when I felt my collarbone snap, when my head slammed into the side window, I called out to God to please, please protect my baby. I didn't beg for my own life, but I pleaded to God for my son's. When the car finally stopped flipping and came to a stop, I jumped out into the cold darkness, knee deep in mud, begging God to let Jameson be ok. He wasn't crying, and my glasses had fallen off during all of the flipping of the car. I was finally able to stick my head through a shattered rear window, and Jameson was there, still firmly fastened in his car seat, not a scratch or bruise on him.

My greatest fear used to be that I would die alone. When Jameson was born, and again with Fallon, my greatest fear became that some tragedy might befall my children. And after today, while I was putting my children to bed, weeping silently as I thought about the parents of those 20 small children who will never again rock their children to sleep or hold them in their arms, I found myself praying to God, beseeching him that if he ever saw fit to call my children home before me, that he would let me be there with them. That he would allow me to hold them and comfort them and tell them that they had nothing to fear as they closed their eyes on this world and moved on to a world more wonderful than their innocent minds could ever imagine. I think about those children today, what they must have been thinking when their lives were snuffed out by such a heinous act of violence, how they probably cried out in fear for their mommas and their daddies, and the thought is almost more than I can bear.

But even in the face of such a deplorable tragedy, today I cannot turn my back on God the way I did when I was young. I thank him every day for protecting my son that early morning in Arkansas. I thank him every day for my two beautiful, healthy children. And I know, deep down in my soul, as I hear the thunder and the pouring rain outside, that God wept today for those children in Connecticut, for their parents, for all the children who survived, for the adults who were killed, for the families of all those involved, and for all of the people who responded to the shooting and found themselves witness to such an atrocity.

We must look into our own hearts to heal this world. We must start with ourselves and work out from there, with our children and all of the people that we come in contact with. We must stop trying to withdraw from the world and start caring about our fellow man, and become instruments of change. Otherwise, human kind will continue on it's path of self-destruction until we are empty husks, devoid of love, and hope and kindness.

1 John 4:8 - "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."