Our youngest is the dare-devil.
You should see his eyes glitter and his mouth twist into a grin when he’s about to engage in foolery. And then he laughs when you reprimand him. Like when he was about to go down a particular slide — which he’s done a ton of times on his BOTTOM. But this time he decided to stand up…
“Sit down,” my husband – his daddy – told him.
“Sit down NOW,” my husband’s voice was more stern so our son obeyed – momentarily. My husband looked in another direction to check on our oldest son and quickly looked back to the slide – just in time to see our youngest go airborne, slam into a pole and crash into the ground with a horrific thud. He rushed to our child’s side, scooped up his limp body and repeatedly called his name – only there was no response. He wasn’t breathing…
In an instant. At once giggling, daring, deviously challenging – and the next not breathing?!? Finally, after an eternity of a minute, our child began to cry.
And that’s how life changes – in an instant.
Afterwards come the questions, the regrets, the foresight, the blame …
This past weekend, a family was enjoying a hot summer day on the lake. Family members were relaxing in a pontoon boat, dragging preteens behind on an inner tube; lapping along the waves, enjoying each other, creating memories… until the nightmare began. A jet ski collided with the inner tube striking the children – one was injured critically.
In an instant… a child is in a coma.
The mom and family friends attend the same church as I do. Like in biblical times, we as a church family clear our mindshare of daily routines and STUFF, cloak ourselves in sackcloth of grief and pray for the child and the family.
It’s a reality check into the worst part of parenting … we are not in control. We are not in control!
I’m reading a book called The Shack. A father is going about his parenting duties – as we all do – registering for school, cooking meals, washing clothes, saving for college. His life is interrupted when his daughter is horrifically abducted. He questions God – and God answers him.
No matter how many precautions we put in place for our children, bad things happen for which we have no control. We. Are. Not. In. Control. We knew that in the beginning when our children were born. Some of us even have our children baptized or dedicated to God as infants… declaring that we have been appointed as stewards over such magnificent miracles of life given to us from God. But when something bad happens to another child, an extremely unnerving, insurmountable fear emerges and only in our subconscious do we allow ourselves to whisper in the deepest, darkest, most quiet moments, “What if that were MY child?”
But we are no good to anybody – especially our children – if we live in fear. Besides, God has not given us the spirit of fear. We choose. I have two boys – one who is accident-prone and one who looks for ‘accidents’ to get into! Will I choose to live in fear? Or will I trust God with their well-being? Honestly, sometimes it’s a tough call.
I don’t trust that nothing bad will ever happen. But when it does, I trust that God will take care of them – surely He can do a better job than I. Even if I don’t understand it… and many times I don’t.
Ultimately, we are not in control – is it a blessing or a curse?
It’s a walk of faith.