Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Letter To My Sons

Dear Goliath, Little Middle, and Baby,

Something big happened on Friday, December 14.  It didn't happen here.  It didn't happen to us.  But it was big just the same, and I can't--and don't want to--just shake it off and get on with life as usual.

I didn't want to tell you that a sad, sick person went into an elementary school.  It was a school just like the one the three of you go to every day.  I didn't want you to know that he had weapons and an intent to kill, that he wanted to cause harm to children who are just like you.  I wanted to protect you from knowing that the world can be such a scary, awful place.  But I couldn't.

You are each so smart, and there was no hiding from you the rampant news coverage, the solemn moods of the adults around you, and the half-mast flags that are all over town.  You asked all the right questions, if there even is such a thing as "right" in this horrible situation.  You wanted to know what happened, and if it could happen to you, too.  You asked about the children and the teachers.  How did the bad man get in?  How did he kill them?  How did they get out?  And you asked the question that most of our country is asking:  WHY?  Oh, little loves.  Why, indeed? 

We, of course, have talked a lot in our house about why God allows bad things to happen to good people.  Although I don't necessarily like it, I've thought that maybe, in terms of my cancer and our other family heartache, that I might have figured it out.  I've told you that if I--if WE--trust God and we are faithful to Him, than our suffering is not in vain.  He promises good things because we love Him.  He promises to take care of all of us and to give us exactly what we need. 

But my suffering is easier for me to process because I am a grown up.  I've had a life full of experiences and mistakes, happiness and sorrow, growing and learning.  I never say it out loud to you, but I think you already know that you, my babies, are the reasons I worry so much AND why I fight to get well.   Because you have everything ahead of you.  I don't want you to be frightened or worried or disadvantaged or helpless.  Most mommies want the best for their children, just like I do for you.

Those children in Newtown had everything ahead of them.  Their mommies helped them get dressed on Friday morning.  Maybe they rushed them through breakfast the way I sometimes do.  Maybe some of them sang silly songs about the weather, or maybe some of them had to ask more than once if teeth had been brushed and hair combed.  Some of those mommies might have been flustered or annoyed, or maybe they loved mornings that bring the promise of a new day.  Some might have even been relieved when they dropped their kids off and came home to a quiet house.  I have mornings like that.

I don't know why.  As much as I want to assure you that you are safe, I know that would be dishonest.  Daddy and I do our best, but this world is so broken, sweet sons.  There is so much hurt and people are damaged in millions of ways.  You, maybe better than a lot of other kids, know what real suffering is.  I'm sorry that I can't protect you like I want to.  I'm sorry that you will remember December 14, 2012 as a day that you felt scared.  Will you do this for me?  Let's try to remember December 14, 2012 as a day that we were reminded of what we already know is true:  God loves you.  God cares about you, down to the smallest detail.  God is with you everywhere you go.  The Bible is absolutely true.  God wants good things for you. 

God gave you to me, the three greatest gifts of my lifetime.  You are mine only for a time, though, because He and I both know that you really belong to Him.  I promise you that I will hug you a little tighter in the mornings.  I will listen a little more intently when you talk, I will soak up every minute I get to spend with you, and I will look for every opportunity to teach you Truth.  Your Daddy and I love you with everything that we have and we are.  So do your Poppy and Nana and your Papa and Mema.  But nobody--not even me--loves you the way that God loves you.  Love people without reserve, show kindness and respect to everyone, and live large, boys.  The world can be scary, but you can be and do anything.  YOU ARE LOVED.

With my whole heart,