I used to play this game with myself. I would try to imagine all the bad things that could happen and what I would do in case they did. Once upon a time, I thought it made me feel better. This was back when I still figured I could control the world. Now, I mostly just pretend like I can.
I read a story tonight, well, I skimmed it and looked at the photos. It was about a little boy who had a heart transplant, but he had a bad reaction to the transplanted heart and after several weeks of unexplainable complications, he died. I started to cry.
I realized as I was crying and asking God why He allows such hard and horrible things to happen to such little people...I'm scared. I want to know I can do everything right and put all my ducks in a row and tape my daughter up in bubble wrap and always keep her safe. But I can't do that. No matter what I do, I can't ensure her health and safety every moment. I don't have the power to control her environment to that extent. Though she'd probably enjoy the bubble wrap for a while, pop-pop-popping with every move.
I've read somewhere that becoming a mother is discovering what it is to live with your heart outside of your body. That's a hard thing to do. Especially when my little heart annoys the heck out of me and all I want to do is yell at her. Or maybe bop her on top of her cute blonde head.
Several months after my mom's death, we were cleaning out her closet and sorting through what to save, what to toss, what to donate. I found a letter from me that she'd kept in her jewelery box. It basically told her that I loved her, because I knew I didn't say it enough. I'd written that letter several months before her death, in the midst of some teenage rebellious act or another. When I found it, I started to cry. I cried because it had meant so much to her that she had saved it in a place she'd see it every day. I cried because, what if I hadn't written out my thoughts to her?
Death rarely comes at opportune times. I learned that lesson the hard way. Still, the lessons of caring for others and showing them how much you love them on an ongoing basis...they often get lost in the shuffle of trying to live my life. So I yell at my daughter. I scream at my husband. I wish I could have more time alone just to do what I want, when I want. And then I get scared that something will happen and I will feel horribly guilty for the rest of my life that I could have said something nice, I could have taken the high road, I could have opened my heart a little bigger...but I chose not to.
I've never read the book What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey, but I think about the title a lot. If you were raised as a Christian or even just around them, you probably have heard the song "Amazing Grace" hundreds, if not millions of times. It's so familiar it seems to lose all meaning. But, grace is amazing. God chooses to love me ALL THE TIME. Not just when I'm being good. Not just when I'm loving my family well. Not just when I pass out fliers for Him on the street corners (which is a relief, because I've never done that). When I'm at my worst, yelling at my daughter, screaming at my husband, arguing with God that I could really run the world better, plotting revenge against the driver that cut me off, He looks at me and He loves me.
And that makes me cry, too.