By Cindy Koch –
If you are anything like me, you care what happens to your children. If you are anything like me, you would go to insane lengths to care, protect, educate, and empower your children. If you are anything like me, you fret and worry if you are doing the right things to raise your children. If you are anything like me, you have been detoured down a complicated road of insanity, for the sake of your children.
It’s simple, they say. Just do this and this and this and this and your kids will just be perfect. Don’t feed them too early or they will develop allergies. Don’t keep them at home too long or they will never become socialized. Keep them busy or they will get in trouble. Start them early or they will be behind.
Get with it, they say. Give your child every opportunity. Don’t be too opinionated, let them have a choice. Expose them to every faith, fact, side, and belief for their benefit. The questions, fears, and expectations spin inside our heads as the minivan rotates around town.
The reality is, we can keep it all going for a little while. We can keep up the smile. We can keep up the schedule. We can keep up with the spin-cycle of insane demands. For a time. And it’s in these hazy automatic moments I suddenly awake from the hypnotic swirls and swishes.
The fog fades for a second, and I see these children clearly: marked by Jesus, baptized and cleansed. But then I look around and catch a glimpse of our horrific reality. They are wandering in a world that is fighting for their soul. My little babes gaze at the sleazy sparkle and toss it a hopeful smile. They can’t see the hidden deceit; they can’t smell the aching desire for their blood. I’m watching our children play in a world of monsters. Worst of all, most of the time I am in the driver’s seat.
Where are we driving?
Smash. The nice safe car veers off the highway of lies. A tire catches a side ditch and tips our balanced life dangerously to the side. Flipping violently, screaming silently, it all begins to fall apart. Our plans and hopes and dreams crumble around us. Thrown back and forth, we grow tired of fighting for this meaningless journey.
But the real treasure is found in the crash.
For just a second, it is calm and quiet. In the middle of broken glass and twisted metal, it’s peaceful. The endless road trip has unexpectedly screeched to a halt. Little tearful eyes look right at me for a word of comfort, hope, and life. I taste a little blood that forgives my neglect. We wash our wounds with a splash of water. Together we believe that whisper of hope that everything will be ok. In the middle of this pain and suffering, we are again focused on the quiet gifts of Christ.
Soon enough, though, the sirens ring out. People from every corner rush in and the noise level raises once again. Strangers pick us up, give us a shot of adrenaline and strap us back into the minivan, engine revved up. Before I ever knew what hit me, I am spinning around town again, just like I never saw the truth.
But I did see. I know where the true gifts of life are hidden. Why do I keep driving myself and kids away from them? What are we doing to our kids?
You know, just like I do, that we are insane. We will do the same dangerous thing over and over again, yet expect a different result. We will keep on driving, swerving to avoid disaster. We race forward longer and harder and faster until we crash once again.
But our kids might not survive. When we crash again, they might not hear the Word of comfort and hope. When they drive their own car, they might only remember the high-speed chase. When they finally fall into despair for themselves, they might not remember those quiet gifts of Christ.
Taste. Wash. Believe. But save their lives, too: drive our kids to Christ.