I just turned the TV off. I had to. I've been listening to news coverage of the shooting in Virginia for the last couple of hours, and my heart can't take it anymore. I think, with horror, of the families who can't turn it off by simply flipping a TV switch. They're living it now.
I use the word "safe" a lot with my kids. It's a powerful word, loaded with meaning, and it communicates deeply how I want my kids to feel. "You're safe," I whisper into Joseph's forehead when I kiss him after a bad dream. "You're safe," I remind Adam after a nasty tumble on his bike. And I know, in my heart of hearts, that it's probably not true.
They're not safe, really. They live in a fallen world, a world where horrible things happen. And despite my most vigilant efforts, I can't keep them from all harm. It's a powerless feeling.
As soon as I finish typing this, I'll head out to my front porch and wait for my kids to get off the bus. They'll hop off in an explosion of backpacks and jackets, noisy and hungry. I'll watch from my porch and breathe the sigh of relief I every day, when I see them safely home again. But my sigh will be sadder today, and a little longer.
Once again, the news of the day finds me coping by retreating to the only place I can--back to the will of a Father whose ways I don't pretend to understand. A Father whose name is, no doubt, being cried in anguish by some parents today. And all I know to do is to pray that He pours out His comfort to them.
I know you join me in praying for them too.
photo by Alan Kim / The Roanoke Times via AP