I’ve been quiet over here. A fog descended two weeks ago today and I’ve honestly had a hard time driving all the way through it in search of hopeful words. So I battened down the hatches for a bit. Give me grace for the stillness?
December 20, 2012
My daughter is alive, my home is still standing, there is food on my table and money in my bank account, but my heart. My heart feels empty and sluggish. There’s chaos at home and chaos in Connecticut and I wake up thinking about all those parents who are waking up and realizing that it wasn’t just a bad dream and feeling that reality land hard and heavy on their chests. And I ache. In my ache, I reach for my daughter, and I don’t feel relief, I feel guilt. I feel more sorrow.
I can be such a hideous steward of these gifts of family and provision.
As I think about those twenty, and how young they were, how tender and innocent, and how senseless was their killing, I hear: do you know how many children died of hunger yesterday?
How many of us have been left feeling so helpless and wishing that we could have been in Newtown on Friday, wishing that we could have saved at least one child’s life?
I tell Livi that some kids got hurt on Friday, and she says, “I know what we can do. We can help them. We can send them some toys.” And I think that we cannot help them, they’ve flown heavenward, and then I remember the 16,000.
From my home in Arkansas on Friday, I couldn’t have done a thing to help the Newtown children. But I can help the children across the world who woke up hungry this morning. Whose skin stretches tight over ribs aching for something to stick to them. Yes. I can help those children. It may only be a drop in the bucket, but if that one drop lands on one pair of parched lips, it will help.
Christmas morning, Olivia and I will open the catalogs and we will find ways we can help.
December 28, 2012
Christmas morning, we flipped through Compassion International and World Vision’s pages of goats and chicks and water filtration systems and as I struggled to explain why someone anywhere would need a live goat and what hunger is and what poverty is, and I waited expectantly (and a bit irrationally) for my daughter to choose a profound combination of goats and ducks and a quarter of a cow and say something deep and resonant about the world, we stumbled upon a page that gives you the option of sending toys to these same children to whom the goats and such come. Naturally, sending a goat was immediately and irrevocably out of the question in her little mind. And so this season’s theme of keeping the story simple carries on, even to Christmas morning: some kids are hurting. Toys will make them hurt less. Let’s send them some toys.
And so it is. Toys we will send.
Happy birthday, Jesus.