On the tension of life as a Christ follower in a broken world.
I’m waking up to make a special breakfast to send my daughter off to her final day of sixth grade and send my guys off to San Antonio for a father/son trip. They’re going to spend three days riding roller coasters. I feel happy because the sun is finally shining after a week of snow and gray. I’m excited about this weekend with my daughter and a summer full of fun plans.
And in this midst of this, somehow also present and very, very real, there is a deep sadness in my soul and great mourning.
I keep thinking about the parents that are waking up to the nightmare of 19 empty beds today. What tidal waves of pain and heartache must they be experiencing right now? But I can’t actually stay with that thought for too long because my heart hurts. It literally, physically aches. It was a fourth grade classroom. Like the one my son sat in every day this year.
It’s SO WRONG. What happened in Texas yesterday is pure EVIL. There’s no other word to describe it.
When I was reading last night about a mass shooting at an elementary school, everything in my body rebels against it. My brain tells me it isn’t real. That it can’t be. That I must have read it wrong. My stomach turns. My throat tightens. My heart drops. My fists clench. My eyes flood. Everything in me wants to channel my inner two year old and scream “Nooooo!” at the top of my lungs.
As if that will change anything.
I read about the shooting and I feel helpless. And I have two opposing and equally strong reactions…
- Part of me wants to ignore the world. I want to curate my life and my environment to be a safe place. I want to shut out the news and ignore all the pain and suffering. I want to shrink my world to my home and my people and homeschool my kids and keep them safely in my care and protection.
- Another part of me longs to know … to see. To bear witness to those who are suffering. I want to empathize with the parents who are in complete shock and denial about what happened yesterday. I want to raise kids to be warriors of justice who are compelled to step into the fight against evil in this world. For bringing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.
How do I live in the dichotomy of caring well for my people and my own little world and protecting those I love while also caring about the world at large? There is too much brokenness and pain and evil to carry while also staying present and emotionally available for my people.
And yet I am compelled to do both.
The thing I keep coming back to is … Jesus. Somehow he did it. He was present and emotionally available to those doing life with him AND he also cared for the world at large. How on earth did he do it?
How did he balance the sadness and the grief of the world while also loving so well those in his midst? It literally feels impossible. I have no idea.
And so today I keep bouncing back and forth. Between out there and right here. Between darkness and light. Between mourning with the broken families in Texas and celebrating with my own family. Between prayers of grief and prayers of thanksgiving.
I feel torn in two. I suppose that is how it is to be a part of this world and yet a total stranger in it.