There is chaos everywhere. Mass shooting possibilities looming around the corners. Cancer attacking all the best people we know. Disabilities overtaking our biggest loves. Bullies cowering over anyone that will bend. Those who bent for too long, holding a gun to their own broken hearts. Heartache and gloom lurking in the shadows eager to jump all over the sunshine on our shoulders. Leaving us all bewildered and anxious and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
And, I get it. This is coming from a momma who, after she lost her youngest, sat there creepily watching each breath her other two children took while they were sleeping. Begging them to take another. And, watching in terror as I realized one wasn’t. My second biggest fear was coming true. ANOTHER one of my children was not breathing well in her sleep. I would sit there counting the seconds between breaths… five… six… seven. And then call the doctor. She had severe sleep apnea and needed either a tonsillectomy or C-Pap as soon as possible.
Life is crazy. All kinds of hard and ridiculous. You find yourself in the middle of it all saying, “It shouldn’t be like this.” The good guy loses and the bad guy wins way too much. And you sit there, bewildered. The news mocks you with all the reasons why you should just stay inside and hide, leaving the sunshine for someone else to find.
But, this is all I know. I can stand here, on the other side of some pretty horrible things and tell you I’d rather have had it all. All the good and bad and ugly wrapped up into one than not had any of it at all. I’ll take the good with the bad. Because, as bad and horrible the worst things that come at us are, the good somehow manages to outweigh it all. The good somehow manages to make it all, so very worth it. So, if the only way I can get to the good is to trudge through the mud and the muck, then I’m going to put my pink sparkly rain boots on and trudge on through.
I had seven weeks with our youngest daughter. Seven weeks of trying to figure out how to juggle three kids, with the oldest in kindergarten. Trying to figure out how to tie a moby wrap. Seven weeks of three sweet sisters snuggling. Mornings where I could barely function from being so tired from the night. Seven weeks of nights full of precious alone time with her. A full little belly, diaper changes, good morning grins, curly toes, running my fingers through her full head of hair, and feeling the weight of her sleeping on my chest. Her sweet little hot breaths on my neck.
And, I would do it all again. Even the moments of my heart feeling ripped out of my chest. The moments of forgetting how to breathe. The moments of trying to figure out how to walk away from her after they placed her in the ground. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. To get those moments we had together. To get to feel and experience the good that settles deep in my bones. Because those are the moments that make life worth living. Those are the moments that allow me to see the world in a whole new light. Those are the moments that give me sunshine to hold on to. The moments that make me want to be a better person.
I feel it was explained so well through my girls’ devotional book the other morning that suggests there are ugly things and beautiful things in this world. We have to decide which one we are going to see. And I want to look at my baby girl. The one I get to call mine, no matter what side of the stars she is on. I want to look at her sisters and her Daddy and the crazy adventures we create. I want to look at the officer who saves lives by simply doing his job and is eager to heal and get back out there so he can do it again. I want to look at the 17-month-old who was shot and the amazing story she will get to live to tell. That her mother gets to tell, today. I want to look at the people empowering themselves by taking action with learning about public shooting safety. I want to look at the people that have left such a huge impact from living on this earth, that we long for them and are forever changed by knowing them, and by them leaving us. I want to look at love. All the love that remains. The moments that have changed us for the better, forever. The sunshine we hold in our hearts.
So on days where my world feels like there is so much bad going on all around us, I’m not going to let fear hold me prisoner. I’m not going to let all the “what if’s” steal my tomorrows. Or even my todays. I’m going to do everything I’ve got to go out and be the good. To raise my children to be the good. To go out and be the one that smiles. To pass out pink, sparkly rain boots to help others get through the muck. To offer a helping hand and a “you’ve got this!” To shine a light on all the beautiful. To focus on all the kind and silly and magical and brave and heroic and breath-taking seasons that make this life worth living. To make this world a better place, if only by one sunshine-filled moment at a time.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27 NLT)