Look through my window and see me, I'm a mom in America. And this is what it's like:
I kiss my kids goodbye and watch the school bus pass my house.
And then I hold my breath, try to remain distracted for seven hours, until I rush across the school parking lot at dismissal, a sigh of relief escaping me when I securely grasp my child's hand.
Am I the only mama in this country who's been dancing this ritual each day lately?
I cannot escape the fabrications in my mind that this could be my last goodbye, that the next phone call could be notice that the epidemic of school shootings has come home to us...that, if I go too far in my imagination, I am sobbing and shaking and hating, and realizing the worst is only a headline away.
I am trying to get a grip, I really am. I am writing this to aid in that effort. My heartbeat is uneven, my breath is sporadic, and the ticking clock is knifing at my peace. If only I could talk myself out of my irrationalities...if only I could believe that my irrationalities were irrational.
I am beginning to wonder...and I am beginning to have a very difficult time coming to grips with my notions these days...
First notion: Prayer is all I have. I know the power of prayer, I know the peace that comes with it. But, I still don't buy it completely. Not now, not in these moments of crisis when kids are being sheltered by desks, and teachers, and school lockdowns. Of all the hundreds of children who've been shot at school, there had to have been a prayer, or ten, said by a mama just like me, asking for protection of her baby. The baby she mourns now.
I hear the arguing, the media, the excuses, the brokenness, and I just feel...prayerless, hopeless, helpless.
The question rattling around in my mind in situations like these is: When do we trust that prayer is all God wants, and, when do we realize He is giving us a nudge (or an all out shove) begging us to do something? Seems to me, a school shooting per week is a pretty clear sign that it's time for action. And I am glad that half of the country sees action as a means to an end, how a solution could be met.
But, at the end of the day, action is not happening, and beyond prayer, I am devastated that it all comes down to depending on lawmakers, squawking journalists, and the ginormous gun industry to change their hearts. Changing those hearts through prayer? I believe that. In theory. But I also think there's a season for doing something.
We aren't suppose to just sit still.
Second notion: I am in the greatest country, after all, the pros outweigh the cons.
I seriously had the thought today that maybe hubs could put in for an overseas transfer? Maybe then we can escape the ludicrous garbage of gun lobbying and second amendment battle. Wipe my hands clean of the fatality of clinging to tradition and losing sight of common sense. (I truly don't mean to offend, I mean to express my heart on this page...the thoughts that I am wrestling with, the view from which I am looking through the window.)
I love this country. I love what we've stood for at our shining moments in history. I adore our Constitution, and its protection, and what it represents. But I hate the one-sidedness, I hate the extremism, I hate the pride of each side in each issue, and I hate that we are killing each other instead of listening to each other.
I hate that the unity our forefathers represented, has been obliterated because of our bickering.
The pros have slipped, the cons are growing great, and I just don't see how we can toot our own horn much longer. Fleeing this country is not going to help any greater good, I know this. I know that I can be a minute inch toward change, so, I must convince myself that it's worth the fear.
Third notion: Pull them out. Just do it, Angie. Pull them out of school, out of their classrooms, out of the hardship of socialization, out of the care of acquaintances, out of the government-run school system...just pull them out, and decrease their risk.
I don't have faith in that, either. I don't have faith in myself to give them the amazing education that they now receive. I don't have faith that in doing so, they won't miss something I can't give them. I don't have strength for the battle with my youngest who LOVES school so much, and gains SO much out of it...I don't have the self-control to not imagine life ahead, and all the regret and resentment she might have because I kept her home when she was flourishing at school.
And, I have always touted, "Not going to give into fear." I said that when we hopped on a plane to Europe, days after September 11, 2001. I said that when I pulled my kids from Christian school and enrolled them in public school. I said that when I debated walking away from my marriage for fear of the consequences of an unbelieving husband, an atheist father for my children.
Nope. I believe it still. Not going to cave in to fear.
So, I sit here, shaking in my skin, trying to catch my breath, seated in a very palpable pool of fear, wondering what it might look like to stand up and walk out of it?
There's a mustard seed of faith left in my soul. I might hold my breath for the next eleven years of schooling in America, but I am going to have faith that change will happen, I am going to be sure to not just sit idly by but take action, and I am going to love my kids fiercely, and fight for them and their future.
I will never stop praying. Never stop praying on days of faithlessness...never stop praying when I am filled up with trust. Just gonna pray because in the end, my soul goes there involuntarily...the Spirit moves regardless of my fear. But prayer is not all I'm going to do.
If you want to join me in doing something about this crisis in America, check out Moms Demand Action. It's not about taking away rights, it's about being responsible with the rights we are given. Let's take action together. Let's protect our country, and our kids.