Thursday, April 18, 2013

These Difficult Days

I have thought over and over about how to write this post.  I've started it and then erased every word twice now.  The problem I'm having is that I want to tell you about how this week has been affecting me, but I feel guilty even writing about it because I am acutely aware of how any discussion of such things makes it sound like I am whining or taking for granted things that people who have been affected by tragedy this week would trade me for in a heartbeat.  So, how do I approach this with sensitivity? How do I write what is truly swirling around in my heart without it sounding like I don't even have one?

I'm convinced that it isn't really possible.  So instead of erasing every sentence and starting at the blinking cursor for another twenty minutes, I'm going to just go for it.  Preemptively, I beg your forgiveness.

This week has been so incredibly difficult.

If you've been following along, you know that my husband is currently away on a long business trip overseas.  While he has been going about his business on the other side of the planet, I feel as if things have been going to (forgive the expression) hell in a handbasket over here.

I posted this photo on Sunday morning with the caption:  Thank God for church and coffee.  I desperately needed both today.

Sunday just got crazy. Remember when I wrote about how I pleaded on Facebook for someone to come over and commiserate with me over a Blue Moon?  It seems so ridiculous now, through the lens of hindsight, to think that Sunday was a rough day.

Monday.  Things were going a little better, to be honest.  The sun was actually trying to shine and the kids got to play outside for a little bit.  Just as I was starting to get ready for work, the news alert popped up on my phone about Boston.

The screenshot I captured when the news first hit my phone.  At this time, only 2 victims had died.

I got to work my entire shift at the restaurant that night with constant videos, news updates, and eyewitness accounts of the treachery and carnage at the marathon being shown in bright, crisp HD picture on 20 plasma screens.  Those images wouldn't leave my mind and I found myself lying awake in bed, struggling to find the words to write my post about the day's events.

Before I closed my eyes in search of sleep, I found myself drawn to the Gospel of John.  Immediately, this verse jumped out at me and I was able to rest, knowing that my Lord Jesus Christ has already overcome the darkness that had shown itself that day.  In a day that was so clouded with darkness, "in him was the light of men," shining through and providing hope.

Tuesday.  Still reeling and somewhat shaken from the attack on Boston, I brought my son to school.  I made sure to mention to his teacher that I hadn't told him about what happened, so I would prefer that she did everything she could to keep him from hearing something from another kid or another adult that might scare him (he's 5).  I drove back to his school a couple hours later to pick him up and I was speaking to my mother on the phone about how I still felt so unsettled about Boston.  It was similar to the feeling I had after 9/11, a disjointed kind of existence where is seems like the world you live in has been forever changed.

That's when I saw the helicopter.  And the police cars.  And more police cars.

"Mom, something's wrong.  Something is really wrong.  I've gotta go.  I'll call you back when I know something."  

Oh yes, the words every mother dreams of hearing her daughter say.  I pulled into Isaiah's school's parking lot and quickly checked my phone for some kind of news on what was happening.  The news alert was that a gunman was reported on the Carroll University campus and that all schools in the surrounding area were on lockdown.

I was currently about two blocks away from campus.

Cue:  Freakout.

Isaiah's teacher was in the process of bringing the kids outside to play when she got the alert.  She quickly returned them to the building and brought them back to the classroom, telling the kids there was "an emergency."  I safely retrieved my child and drove with shaking hands through a maze created by squad cards, blockades, and law enforcement officers to reach our home safely.  Once my children were all inside the house, I turned on the news.

Have you ever tried to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich while your hands are shaking?  It's not easy.  Thankfully, the situation was resolved quickly and without any violence whatsoever.  It turned out that the man was carrying a very authentic looking airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets.  Nevertheless, it was enough to have my nerves right on edge.

After lunch, I put Thomas to bed while his brothers were outside playing.  Isaiah was riding his big boy bike and Micah was on his Boot Scoot Bike.  I reminded them to stay on the sidewalk of our lot or in our yard.  I went back in the house and went to the bathroom.  I emerged after a couple minutes and was about halfway through the living room when I heard the horn blast.

I sprinted out the front door just in time to see a white car speeding down the road, blaring its horn at my five year old, who was barely halfway across the street on his bike.  He screamed as he hustled to the curb, just narrowly avoiding being hit.

The car continued on its merry way and I ran to my son's side, struggling to control my emotions and the tirade of cuss words that were threatening to escape my lips.

In a 24 hour period, I had witnessed the news of the Boston Marathon bombings, dealt with a school gun scare, and watched as my firstborn was nearly hit by a car.  

Needless to say, I was desperately in need of the 90 minutes of uninterrupted time with the Lord I was blessed with at church that evening.  My nerves were fried, my heart was troubled, and I approached my God with what can only be described as trepidation.  I have so much to write about what I learned in that time at the Mission Cafe, but that's a blog post for another day.

Evan sent me an email Tuesday night saying he "hoped I had a good day with the boys."  I laughed out loud when I read it and quickly responded that I missed him more than he could truly understand and that the day I had with the boys was a "nightmare."

Now, before I write anything else, I feel like I have to say this.  I am so grateful that my family is safe and sound and I am in no way saying that the past couple days has been anywhere near the horror that it has been for so many people across the nation, in Boston especially and now today in West, Texas where a fertilizer factory exploded, leaving somewhere around a dozen people dead and countless others severely injured and missing.  What I am saying is that this week has been hard, especially without my husband here to calm me down and support me like he is so good at doing.

So I don't want any nasty comments about how "I should be happy that my kids are alive and safe" or that I'm so selfish for "whining about having a bad day when so many other people are in real pain."  Just save that garbage; I don't want to see it here.  I hit my knees Tuesday night and gave thanks to the Lord who had spared my children that day, so any insinuation that I am somehow ungrateful or unappreciative is unfair and inaccurate.

My purpose is not to steal away any prayers or sympathies for the victims, families, and friends whose lives have been shattered in Boston or Texas.  It's just a blog about a mom who has had a rough week, who is currently struggling with a bit of an anger problem, and who is so grateful for the Lord's new mercies every morning. 

Wednesday morning, I updated the verse on our "Scripture of the Week" board that's hung on the wall above our kitchen counter.

"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

He is with me.  Despite the events that lead so many to believe that there must not be a loving God if such tragedies are allowed to happen, I will rest on the promises that my Lord is by my side.  I will be strong and courageous.  I will trust that his infinite wisdom and cosmic plan far surpasses the realm of my understanding, even on these difficult days.

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