Back when I was 16 or so, I remember sitting in a lesson at church that brought me to tears. I don't remember the topic of the lesson, but I remember feeling overwhelmed with how bad the world was at the time (around 1994-ish) and how much worse it was bound to become by the time I was a mother. And, I decided right then and there that it just wouldn't be worth it to bring kids into such a terrible place. (Yeah, I admit I might have been a bit on the emotional/dramatic side as a teenager. I was only slightly offended when an adult leader once told me I needed to lighten up. Actually, now that I think of it, I heard that more than once.)
It was while Marc and I were cleaning up from our lunch together on Monday afternoon that Marc saw the news about the explosions in Boston. As we saw and heard more details coming in, we immediately understood the gravity of the situation and I felt my heart sink and my head spin. Sadness and confusion. Ben was at preschool and Hugh was hanging out with my parents, so I had a quiet house. I sat and rocked my baby Lucy. I held her close and then laid her gently down for her afternoon nap. She was still sleeping when I had to pick Ben up from school, so I had some more quiet time in the car. (Luckily, Marc was able to work close by to be near her when she awoke.)
It was in the car that the tears came flowing. The sadness and confusion had built up and I needed some release. I consider myself a runner. I've run two marathons, I'm signed up to run a half marathon coming up soon, and I felt like this tragedy had affected and hurt my family. Not just my running family, but people that are part of this great big human family.
I was actually a little surprised myself by how easy the tears came and I paused long enough to consider myself a little crazy for being so emotional about it all. I didn't know anyone that was there (except that later on, I realized that I did - my friend Amy). But, this is exactly the kind of stuff that my teenage fears warned me of.
Stuff like this just feels extra painful when you consider that there are those among us who have their hearts and minds in such a skewed place to think it okay to inflict such awful pain and terror on their own family, albeit "just" human family.
For completely unrelated reasons, not too long ago I found myself drawn to looking more closely at moments in the scriptures when the Lord weeps. There were three that affected me in powerful ways for different reasons. There's the story of Lazarus, which is where we find the oft-quoted shortest verse in scripture: Jesus wept. There's the story of the Resurrected Christ blessing the children among the Nephites and weeping because His joy was full. And, then the story of the Lord showing Enoch in vision the world we live in today. That's the story that has been on my mind this week.
In all of my sadness and confusion, trying to make sense of the senseless, there is one truth that keeps resonating through my veins. God has wept at the hatred and the evil among His own children and surely He is weeping still. And, if He is weeping (which I believe He is), then that means He still cares, He is still aware, and He still has ultimate power to heal and to make things right again. And, as long as there is a God in heaven like that, then there is reason for me to have hope in a better world, even if that is a world to come.
Here I am, nearly 20 years later, raising three children in this much scarier world. I'm conquering my own fears. I'm doing everything I can to keep my kids safe and teach them to be kind. And, teaching them the Source of my hope, because maybe there will come a day when they are sitting in a church class a few years down the road and will be overcome with how scary the world is they live in... and maybe, just maybe, they won't be afraid.