Sunday the sunset was a battle of angels in the sky – too intense to look at, too mesmerizing not to. A blaze that blinded and branded the existence of Hope back into hearts. It’s been feeling all a little much and heavy, this parenting in a world where we are so globally and graphically aware of our communal pain, our personal privilege, and the inefficiency of a power that is not big enough to fix it.
Each generation of parents must feel like the world is at it’s worst for them. Great grandma instructing, “always be home before dinnertime,” knowing children are many and food is scarce during the Depression. Then the whole Vietnam debacle followed by too many pains and mistakes to list in the decades following.
In our day-to-day, we look as prosperous and cozy as we ever have. Our home full of food and toys and designer rugs and safety. But there’s a picture of a little boy facedown in the sand on our computer and a little girl staring at me with bomb burns all over her body in the newpaper on my counter. My kids replay their lockdown drill and we take it a step further by walking a course from their school doors to the police station nearby and try to keep the tone not totally terrifying when I ask them what they do should a dangerous person actually get in their classroom. It is all too apocalyptic this is the reality for our Post 9-11 babies. But the PSA at the beginning of the movie previews on our date night the other evening reminds us that this confusion of cushy-ness and unsafety are the constant in the lives of our children.
Being aware of this sucks the oxygen from the room. The alternatives are to either ignore or altogether lose hope in our shared humanity. Neither real alternatives at all. We look for hope. Sometimes we cup little moments of hope between our hands like so many fireflies scooped from the twilight and other times hope shoots towards us in glaring shards of sunset, reminding us to look up, breathe in the good, and call for the kids to join us barefoot on the driveway so we can stare at the sky and be reminded. There is goodness. There is peace. There is a love for all of us in spite of ourselves.