Just last Monday, I burst into tears after a tour of the cardiac ICU at Children’s Hospital. All those tiny babies hooked up to so many machines. I know they are in the best place and – because of the care that they are receiving – most will survive into adulthood. Still, it was one of those moments that really hit me hard, and I found myself saying prayer after prayer of thanks for my baby and his good health.
And then Friday happened, and I found myself thanking God for each and every moment I get to spend with my sweet child.
I am so lucky. So blessed.
I am also terrified. Chaos. How does one protect their family from chaos? Because part of me wants barricade my loved ones in my house and never let them out again. I can see how easy it would be to give into that fear, too. But the price for living in fear is never really living.
Last Wednesday, my coworker and I were walking to our cars and discussing all the mass shootings around the country lately. There had been one at a church over the weekend and another at a mall in Oregon the day before. I expressed concern over the silly little superstition that things sometimes happen in threes, and wondered aloud if we – as a nation – were beginning to become desensitized to cases of mass shootings. Lately they seem to happen so often. The church shooting last weekend was barely a blip on the news at 10 PM, and the terror at the mall two days later was all but gone from the headlines by Wednesday afternoon.
Then on Friday morning at 8:30 CST, I was picking up after the dogs in the yard before heading to work. All of a sudden I heard these popping noises coming from the house behind ours. My first instinct was to duck. I thought they were gunshots. Which is silly. Why would there be gunshots in my neighborhood? I’ve never heard any before. Then again, I’m sure no one expected to hear them at an elementary school before Friday either.
It was only after they kept happening that I finally realized what they really were: Neighbor Joe across the alley was getting a new roof.
And what gets me is that at the exact same time, some 1400 miles away, six and seven year olds were also hearing popping sounds. Except they really were gunshots. My terror came and went in an instant. Theirs continues on.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed