Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I was driving along the road with my boys in the back seat. Up ahead, I could see the traffic was slowing down. "Are we approaching the section of road that's supposed to be closed today?" I wondered to myself. I wasn't too familiar with this area, so I was preparing myself for what direction the upcoming detour would take me.
I quickly learned there was no detour at all, but a scene that will be forever etched into my heart and my mind. A deer sat on the side of the road, a towel covering her head and blood streaming from her head/mouth, with a woman standing guard beside her, waiting for the help that was just arriving on the opposite side of the street.
I saw it all so quickly, as I was in the midst of a line of a couple of cars and had to keep moving (albeit a bit slower than one would ususally drive here) so as not to cause another accident. Yet one of the things that immediately came to mind was,"Is Jacob looking? How can I divert his attention before he sees what's happening?" I didn't want him to see the suffering of the deer. I didn't know what I would say to him. I didn't want him to see my face as I choked back my tears, not wanting to upset him. Thankfully (for me) Jacob was oblivious to what was happening. He was sitting there innocently looking ahead. He didn't see the deer. He didn't even notice me crying or hear me quietly praying for the deer and the woman watching over her.
But was my reaction was on the right track? Of course, we want to protect our young children from experiences that could be harmful or detrimental to their growth. Was this one of those experiences? Perhaps this could have been an experience which deepened his love and empathy for animals. Perhaps this could have given us an opportunity to talk about how God's intention was for life and not for death.
Yet when I looked back at my boys, still so young and fragile, my heart ached as I thought of how, little by little, their innocence will be eroded. They will have to come face-to-face with all kinds of struggles and sufferings, and eventually, death, in their lives. Shouldn't we aim to shelter them and preserve their innocence for as long as possible?
I don't know. There certainly are no easy answers. It's during these times when I am reminded of how helpless and lost we are without God. Sometimes, all we can do is cry out, "Lord have mercy."
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I am not one of those mothers who expects their children to stay clean when they go outside to play. To me, getting dirty is evidence that you've had a seriously good time. I think that's part of the job description for a child.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
While I struggle with the cold darkness of winter, there is one thing during this time that brings me great joy... starting seedlings for my garden. My seedlings have begun germinating, and one of my favorite things to do throughout the day is to dote upon them... watering them, looking at them, watching to see if any new seedlings will sprout. I never cease to be amazed by the process of nurturing the life that comes forth from a seed. At first glance, a seed seems so small and insignificant. Yet, within each seed lies the hope and promise of new life.
Even in the most unwelcoming of situations, life wants to grow. I have often marveled at the tiny plants that poke up out of the cracks in the sidewalk. Their persistant desire to reach toward the light is inspiring. Several years ago, while I was in the midst of a huge emotional struggle, a very dear friend of mine gave me some beautiful advice that I carry with me to this day. She said something to this nature, "If you think this time of darkness in your life is worthless and empty, think of the seeds that are planted into the darkness of the soil. They get rained on and trampled on and sometimes forgotten. Yet they eventually grow into something beautiful."
When thinking of the suffering and injustice in the world, it can be easy to fall into despair, to feel as though our efforts are tiny and insignificant. Too often, we either excuse ourselves from making different lifestyle choices by saying one person's choices won't make a difference to the world, or our sheer laziness prevents us from taking opportunities to make more compassionate choices. Yet, by God's grace, one person truly can make a difference.
Each small action we take to be kinder to God's creation is like a small seed of hope planted into the darkness of the world. And by being faithful in the small things, we can learn to be faithful in larger things. Besides, as Patriarch Bartholomew once said, “If we are not moved to compassion, bandaging the wounds of the earth, assuming personal care, and contributing to the painful costs, then we might easily be confronted with the question, which of these do you resemble: the Good Samaritan or the indifferent person?”