At the end of every day, each of my kids gets a little special one-on-one time before bed. Usually it consists of a back tickle, some snuggling, and talking about their day. Unsurprisingly enough, the kids like to draw out this time as much as possible to avoid actually having to go to sleep. Last night was no exception. My daughter Ella was especially persistent. She kept insisting on “more special time…”. I kept reminding her that if I didn’t wrap up our special time, then I wouldn’t get to have my special time with Daddy. Over the past eleven years, I’ve learned through hard experience that if I don’t protect that last hour of the day with my husband, a man for whom an 80-hour workweek is a commonplace thing, that we can go weeks without ever having a conversation full of complete sentences, or more than 10 scattered minutes to ourselves before falling asleep. So, our “special time” is a must. A time to reconnect and talk about the day without little voices interrupting. A time to read and pray together. A time to watch all of our Facebook friends take the Ice Bucket Challenge on the iPad. You know, the important things.
Last night, our conversation kept coming back to all of the chaos and unrest in the world at the moment. Civil unrest in Ferguson. Tyranny and terrorism by ISIS. Death tolls rising in Liberia. To put it mildly, the world is a scary place right now.
The thought kept coming back to me…my children are so safe and protected in this little cocoon we have provided for them. This home is a refuge and a place of peace. And I’m scared for them to grow up in a world of cruelty, violence, danger, and heartache.
I was so frightened, thinking (as I always do), of how I would feel if my children were in any of the circumstances across the world that appeared so terrifying. I dreamt horrible dreams about it. I thought about it when I woke up this morning and as I helped them get ready for school and pack their lunch boxes. I thought about it as they bounced out of the car and into their school building. I thought about school shootings and pedophiles and kidnappers. I thought about it on and off as I ran errands, right up until the point that I started folding laundry this afternoon.
And then it hit me.
A song I’ve known since childhood. A song that never really seemed too extraordinary or special to me until that very moment.
“The Lord is my Light, then why should I fear?
By day and by night, his presence is near.
He is my salvation from sorrow and sin
This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.
The Lord is my light
He is my joy and my song
By day and by night
He leads, he leads me along.”
There is so much sorrow and wickedness in the world. But there is hope and joy to be had, too. There are good and kind and helpful people who love each other. There are honest politicians and brave police officers and brilliant doctors and loving parents. There are bright and imaginative children. And behind every terrifying mask of wickedness (in all of its varieties), there is a single soul, a small and simple human being with a human heart that will be judged by a perfect and just God. And now I feel a renewed sense of hope for my children. There is, after all, the peace that comes from knowing that good will always prevail in the end, and light will always overpower the darkness.