As soon as I got out, I heard him.
I rushed from the shower to grab my robe. My 12-week-old baby was crying… nay, screaming, downstairs. My mother was doing her best to help, but he was. not. having. it.
Towel wrapped around my head, robe on, I ran down to comfort him. He seemed both tired and hungry, based on his behaviors, so I started to breastfeed him with the hope that he’d then take a nap.
As I held him and nursed, I noticed a small, glistening teardrop in the corner of his eye. It sat perfectly still, reflecting the light. It didn’t roll down onto his nose or face. It didn’t seem to be absorbed by his beautiful lashes. It just remained.
That’s how I feel.
Not just after terror attacks or murders or fires or floods. These events, sadly, begin to lose steam and fade from the headlines and our minds.
That’s HOW I feel…
I’m a feeler… always have been.
And for a while now, there’s been this hint… this teardrop… of sadness on the corner of my heart. It doesn’t burst forth and destroy me, but it doesn’t go away either.
Let me return to this morning.
After hustling down to care for my boy, I went back upstairs and got dressed.
I’m now wearing black jeans, a gray and black long-sleeved shirt, purple frog socks (chilly morning!), a watch, and three rings. Oh, and my “J” initial necklace that I hardly ever remove.
I looked at myself in the mirror.
Not too shabby for a Wednesday, a finally cool fall day in Texas.
Then I put in my contacts and brushed my teeth; then I stopped.
I closed my eyes and imagined that this was my last moment before horrible, murderous men bust into my house and threaten my family and me. We have two minutes to get out before they burn it to the ground – whether or not we’re inside.
Hypothetically, I had enough time to grab my purse and diaper bag… but no car. I let our dog out, but there’s no time for a leash. She’s on her own. I have my baby in a carrier (with one fleece blanket), and I have my shoeless toddler by the hand.
Our entire block, town, state, country is burning. There is nothing to do but leave – run – and not return.
My husband is out of town for work; I may never see him again.
I have 5 infant diapers and 2 toddler diapers in my possession.
$37 in cash (a rarity to have bills and not just cards)
3 children’s books
1 granola bar
A driver’s license (assuming the cell phone and credit cards would be pretty worthless…)
How will we survive?
I can breastfeed the baby, but my oldest son and I will need food.
Where will we sleep?
I have one small blanket for three people.
Where do we go? Where is a safe place?
Who will help us or take us in?
How will we get there?
What if something happens to me? Who will take care of my babies??
We have no choice. Here we go.
Oh God, I’ll never see my husband again.
Please, God, let the kindness and courage of strangers help my sons and I to escape. To have food. To have shelter.
Please, God, let me try to help others on my path, even as I don’t know if I can help myself or my family.
It’s death… or possible death.
… or maybe, just maybe… it’s life.
I open my eyes.
The sadness bursts forth.
I’m beyond grateful for my many blessings and for the life I lead. And for the next 12 days, I had intended to stay accountable to sharing those “things” with you on facebook.
But I can’t.
I need rest and peace and room to FEEL, and while I intended to quit facebook for the month of December, I must start now. I can’t take the hate, the sadness, the anger, the fear. I must step away to pray and reflect and pray and beg and pray and do something.
So here is a condensed version to finish out November. I’m grateful for… (among other things):
18 – my teachers and my education
19 – the decision to attend TCU
20 – miracles
21 – trips around the country/world
22 – Pope Francis
23 – my brother
24 – my in-laws
25 – my church
26 – never wanting for food
27 – a day of thanksgiving to share with our loved ones (not shopping)
28 – our beautiful, free country (as odd as she can be sometimes)
29 – to be me, with my strengths, beauty, flaws, issues…
30 – Jesus – thank you for loving me anyway.
Wipe your tears.
Count your blessings.
And get to work.
Fear begets fear. Hate begets hate. But love… love begets love.
Have a happy Thanksgiving, a beautiful Christmas/Advent season, and a blessed new year.
Pray for peace, pray for me. You will be in my prayers, too.
From the book of Matthew (www.biblegateway.com):
The Judgment of the Nations.[n] 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32 and all the nations[o] will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous[p] will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41 [q]Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44 [r]Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
God bless you.