I’ve come to understand that I’m a thinker. I’m always pondering on the inner workings of everything. I can often be found bewildered about the wonderment of time and space, universal microcosms, the process, the journey and all things both great and small. And quite frankly it drives me crazy! That’s one reason why I love my Christian faith so much and the human existence. Both require you to live by faith and not by sight. Peace is gained by not always knowing the how or why. Faith forces you to enjoy the journey, regardless of how much you dislike the process.
Life is work. That’s the bottom line and there’s no getting around it!
There are so many obstacles, situations, traumas and tragedies. These are oftentimes married to dichotomies, ironies, and paradoxes. With life there’s death, what to turn to when all is lost, the fight within to persevere. Tragedies seem to constantly abound and bombard us on CNN and the 24 hour news cycle.
As humans, our global connectedness has caused us to share in one another’s sorrows and lives far too often. And for a thinker like myself it can be daunting and overwhelming. But as a Christian I’m reminded to think on these things….. “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy!”
I’m glad to report that I have learned this lesson. It’s being mastered more and more each day along with a book idea. If you ask me how I know I’ve learned, the example of a recent tragedy is evidence for it.
My family home was broken into while my husband, three children and I slept comfortable in our beds on the upstairs floor. My purse was stolen along with the car keys and one of our cars. It was later used in a high speed chase and collision that totaled my husband’s beloved vehicle, an somewhat classic pearl white Cadillac Deville. By the time my husband discovered the break in, the police had already recovered the car. And by the time we were completing the police report, the police had one suspect in custody and felt the other two would soon be arrested.
Where lies the tragedy, you may question?
The tragedy was that the criminals were 15 and 16. The reporting officer told us that in our state they would be tried as adults and the minimum sentence for home invasions carry 25 years. How awful to think of three lives headed down the prison pipeline for a mere 10 minute joy ride.
Now I know it would make more sense to use this platform to soap box the need for stricter laws and to fight for restitution and family responsibility. But as an educator, and children’ s author I work with youth every day that have no direction or guidance and whose parents have checked out of parenting long ago. On any given day you might find 10 to 20 young people hanging at our house playing ball on our courts or sucking down Popsicle on our big, wide porch. My husband and I have a philosophy and vision for ourselves that include the work we do for youth in our community as an educator and a coach. This philosophy mandates that our home is a safe haven to just be a kid for those who are growing up fast and furious without true guidance.
Marian Wright Edelman coined it best in her book, The Sea is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small. “God, we have pushed so many of our children into the tumultuous sea of life in small and leaky boats without survival gear and compass. Forgive us and help them to forgive us. Help us now to give all our children the anchors of faith and love, the rudders of purpose and hope, the sails of health and education, and the paddles of family and community to keep them safe and strong when life’s sea gets rough.”
Life can always be worse… or better. It’s a spectrum of reality and I chose to function on the bright side/glass half full end. As my husband told my ten year old son, who was experiencing nervousness after the break in, “we can choose to worry about every nuance life throws our way or we can think on the lovely things.”
Our home is a haven. That’s lovely!
Because it’s a haven we’ve lived quite carelessly over the last few years when it comes to security of our home. Many of our neighbors are retired and home most days watching pretty diligently over the neighborhood. One really special neighbor of mine has been given the honorary name, “Eyes of God” because Tiki sees all and knows all. She warns when teenage daughters are home early, strange persons lurk about or even if energy workers are in the vicinity to cut off utilities. So for many years we’ve been careless about locked doors and windows. I’m thankful for the 14 years of peace with no criminal activity. It represents the truth of our urban experience, instead of this one incident defining otherwise.
Like Dory in Finding Nemo, I believe we should all just keep swimmin’ and to help with not drowning I’m thinking on these things:
- My family wasn’t harmed…That’s Praiseworthy!
- I’m married to a man that suggested we visit the three young home invaders and pray for them and not a husband that wants to load our home up with firearms…That’s Noble!
- My family still feels peace in our home of fourteen years and we rejoice with a garment of praise that we have a home…That’s lovely!
- I can recognize that God has been good to me regardless of the experiences we face. That’s True!
- The Pizzos are learning each day how important it is to keep swimmin’…That’s Right!
Robin Williams was one I loved my whole life. His ability to make people laugh was a gift and never failed to deliver. Although I wrote this piece before his untimely, tragic death my prayer for him and all those struggling with depression is to PLEASE find a way to keep swimmin’!
The world is far better with you than without you.
What helps you to keep Swimming? And what do you find lovely, pure, true, praiseworthy, just?
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