As some of you know, I am an avid reader and one of my favorite genres is speculative fiction. As a result, I end up reading quite a few books based in a dystopia – and lately, they have been really wearing on my soul. I’m pretty sure that the main reason they have been grinding down my soul is because I now have children. The possibility of a future such as The Road (which, I keep meaning to read, but seriously, the idea is just too fucking depressing) just fills me with such deep, profound sadness.
Of course, I am also hypnotically drawn to articles wherein the headlines blare something to the likes of, “Baby/Toddler/Child is Raped/Killed/Murdered/Missing” and I have to read it and then sob uncontrollably. DH always asks with such disgust, “Why do you read this crap? You know from the headline that it will be sad and depressing.” To which, I have no good response except that I must.
Which is all to lead into what I mean to blog about tonight. Ever since I became a parent, I am constantly aware of both my intense gratefulness for my children and paralyzing fear (if I let myself dwell upon all the possibilities). They are twinned and I wish they would not be. (Although, one could argue that I am so grateful because I am also acutely aware of all the horrible, gruesome possibilities.)
I find myself sobbing as I hold tightly to DD or thinking of DS (because if I sobbed while holding him, he would be very concerned). Any book or article that I read will immediately feed my fears. When I read about dystopias (shoot, let’s try our current third world countries or the less fortunate in our first world) where children are starving or beaten/abused/sick/dying, etc.
I grab my children and pray fervently for their safety, health, and happiness. I pray, as if by my desperate praying, I cast a spell of protection over my children. I pray to God, begging him to keep my children from harm and suffering. As if my pathetic pleading would protect them. That the sheer act of praying is a talisman, a way of controlling the future and manipulating God to do my bidding. That God is small, petty, and would only do good for my children if I whimper and grovel. Or, alternatively, that God is easily controlled and as long as I say XYZ and do my ritual obeisance, God will provide.
But sometimes, I think that it doesn’t matter if I pray or not (even if it makes me feel better). Because the odds are, my kids will be fine and grow old and be happy. That they will make of their lives as best as they can. That by virtue of being born in the US to two college educated, high-income earning parents, they will go on to have similar trajectories and be set. Of course, it is not guaranteed, but it is highly likely. Because if you truly think about it, good and bad things happen alike to the devout and the apostate. After all, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 3:45, NIV)
But then, I recoil in fear at this thought (that maybe just by voicing it, I am condemning my children to unhappiness and suffering). And then, (if you aren’t already whirling in confusion by my crazy thinking), I try to reassure myself. After all, who do I think God is? A complete asshole? If, God is really a good parent, surely, I have nothing to fear – that even if the worst of my fears should come to pass, that He will be faithful and good? I mean, if all our parental love is modeled after His perfect love, then I should know that His love for my kids (and me) far surpasses mine. “You parents–if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!” (Matt. 7:9-10, NLT)
My brain whirs and I think to myself, I don’t know that I could continue to believe and trust that God is good if anything were to happen to one of my children. I find myself begging God to not test my faith in this manner – for surely I will fail and I would never forgive Him.
It is truly humbling to know that all my professions of faith quell and quiver before the immense uncertainty of life – which can all be neatly laid at the feet of my God. My only comfort is that God knows all these nasty parts of my soul (and indeed, knew them before I ever did), and that He still will be good to me and mine.
“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, ESV)