24 Aug

Faith and thunder

“Turn off the thunder, Dad! Turn off the thunder!”

A toddler’s first experiences of a thunder storm are an exercise in faith. Deafening noises crash outside, some rumbling in the distance, others seemingly crashing right outside the window.

Now is not the time for meteorological lessons explaining the nature of warring cold and warm fronts. Without the scientific knowledge, a child cannot comprehend thunder in any real way. Thus, it is all the more frightening.

Holding my child in the dark and looking at her by the flash of a lightening strike, her body is shaking, her lips a quiver.

What to say?

“It’s okay. Daddy has you.”

Or we try to explain it away.

“The angels are bowling.”

Or we try to have our child join in the game.

“Say BOOM back to the thunder!”

None of which help a quivering child. But a child has more faith than most, and so I repeat:

“Daddy has you. It’s okay.”

It doesn’t explain the thunder away, but it is enough.

With faith, the child lies back in her crib, the thunder rumbling out of town.

05 Aug

The courage to wave

Perched atop the grocery cart, my one-year-old daughter waves at every person we pass as we make our way through the aisles, challenging them with a smile and a hello of the hand. Many smile in return and wave back. Others do not even notice. Whether they are looking or not, though, she offers a wave.

What a talent, not simply to notice all life, but to acknowledge it. And doing so out of love, not saying, “Look, here I am!” but rather, “Look, there you are!”

Just two feet tall and yet she’s got more courage than most six-feet strangers.

Some try to look the other way – to go about their business, to be selfish, to be scared. But the giants can only ignore one another. When a 30-inch angel acknowledges your presence, there is no looking the other way. They smile back, they wave, they gleam. She’s said with her eyes that they exist, that their lives are of importance.

A wave, a smile, goes straight to the heart – for it comes from the heart.

Teach me, child, to love all life.

01 Aug

Witness to violence

The television was on in the background. My daughter awoke well past the time infants in other time zones have even gone to sleep. Playing on the floor, she looks to the TV screen just in time to see a violent act of bludgeoning on a crime drama. In a heartbeat her eyes bulge in fear and she runs to the embrace of her mother – confused, scared, fear in her eyes. I will never forget that look.

Teach me, child, to know only love, to shun the hatred we find in this world, cringing at violence and anger and longing for the safe and reassuring arms of an embrace.

Teach me to recognize that love still exists, that it is not an empty promise but real.

Teach me to cringe at the absence of love, to seek refuge in the arms of God, of those I love.

You are a reminder that love exists, that love protects, that love lives, and that love heals the scars of violence.

Teach me, child, to know only love.