I thought that with two kids at school for the afternoon and the third down for a nap, I might take a little (or a long) snooze after a very busy week. I’ve been in four states, four beds, and constantly going three directions at any given moment all week long. I even walked in late to my little sister’s wedding on Tuesday while still braiding my hair and trying to carry on a quiet conversation with relatives I haven’t seen in years. Busy never looked so stunning (my husband’s words).
Then I decided to be one of those moms who shares with the world that she has successfully gotten her kids off to the first day of school. I glanced over the photos I’d snapped. Then I patted myself on the shoulder for getting photos and still getting kids to their destinations early (am I turning a new leaf?).
But the photos of my son just weren’t making the grade. He refuses to be in photos if I make one tiny ounce of suggestion, like, “Can you put your hands down?” After that the photos I do get are sort of grotesque, like he thought he was imitating Gene Simmons in plaid. While posing for a JCPenney catalog.
Eating my fancy little sandwich of homegrown tomatoes and basil on homemade bread from freshly ground wheat and toasted with organic Havarti cheese from the snobby grocery store I was so proud of myself for visiting for the first time since it opened three years ago, I decided to browse Facebook a moment before posting some little “it’s tough to get a smile out of this one” about my five-year-old son.
And then I scrolled to this photo of a five-year-old boy.
And I think, “What the [glottal stop] am I even doing?”
It’s pouring rain outside and the only worry I have is that I forgot to give my son his rain jacket. This kid just got rained on by rubble. Where was his impermeable shield for that?
Disparity, unfairness, inequality, inequity, injustice…I can’t even find a word to describe how that contrast smashed me in the gut and shook the fatigue out of me.
Is it enough to do the best I can to help with what I have? Is it really enough if I tell myself, as I was reminded in a very uplifting women’s meeting last night, that “today you are a little bit better than you were yesterday?” How do I reconcile doing my best with watching so many lives lost and broken every single day?
I know there is a long view and that “because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, ultimately, in the eternal scheme of things, there will be no unfairness.”
But how do I keep that from becoming a numbing comfort, like a narcotic I turn to every time the pain of the suffering world gets to be too great?
I can only say right now, as I am about to go greet my children at the bus stop, that my path brings me to God’s children just as much as the path of that journalist took him to little Omran. Whether it is merely chance that I am here (rather than in some war-torn country, for now) or whether it is some result of a pre-determined path, my moral obligation is the same: to do my best with what I have and do it for another’s welfare, not simply my own.
I have other thoughts to write about later on relating to “playing God” versus “leaving it to God” versus “becoming like God,” which some may detest, others may identify with, and others may just dismiss.
And nap is over now, for my third child is crying and it looks like the windy, rainy version of Hades from my peaceful home. I feel selfish as I say that I am grateful it is only rain.