With the war in Israel, and all that means for my relatives and friends abroad and here in the U.S., amid the new wave of antisemitism that’s come to replace the old wave of antisemitism, well, it’s a turbulent time. I have a lot to say, but I’d probably erupt like a volcano right now. And the Lord has been bringing something else to mind, nudging me to write about another upheaval that is a crisis for any American.
One day last year, my son’s school went on lockdown. Not a drill this time, but a hard lockdown; the real deal. Long story short, it was purported that armed students planned to do some real damage had it not been for the quick response of the local police and county sheriff’s departments. They took control and managed the situation with the utmost concern and skill; calmed everybody down. Among many, I am grateful to them; nobody got killed or hurt that day.
Beyond sad, though, it’s also ridiculous that this sort of scenario has become its own epidemic, a crisis of epic proportions. What happened at my son’s school went mostly under the radar. Barely a blip on the local news. Yet many kids were traumatized; it would be several days before many of them would return to class. Makes me wonder how often this kind of stuff happens around this country and we just don’t hear about it. It was surreal, but I also felt sadness over the offenders of the day—just mixed up, messed up teenagers, who need some real help and divine intervention in their lives... just as do terrorist-aligned groups (ehem).
So during this episode last year, I had to have that conversation with my son. In another way, I feel privileged to have had it (some haven’t in other scenarios), but it got me thinking about the conversations and moments we have with our loved ones. There were many moments in the height of that episode where I felt the Lord’s hand of protection and peace; that is divine intervention. It was in the thick of it, classroom lights off, doors locked and bound, tables overturned for taking cover as well as stacked against the door; the commotion, the wracked nerves as the high schoolers waited like sitting ducks. It was then that the flurry of calming texts between my son and I were about what’s most important. The guarantor of peace in the storm, the words of familial bond, of God’s sovereignty, of love. I had to receive and absorb in my heart my only child telling me he’s made his peace with God, come what may.
Of course, I love my son, but not just because he’s my own, but I love WHO he is; he’s a solid in every way. I told him so that morning as he left for school. I told him when we texted back and forth during the threat and we didn’t know what was happening—or about to happen—one minute from the next. I shared with him when I saw him next, right after a long and safe hug. And even if he hadn’t proven himself a solid but consistently struggled with one or more things, I’d still remind him of his qualities—because every person has them—and build him up, and love unconditionally, that is, love even when it’s frustrating or scary. I’m thankful that things (words) evolved with us the way they had on that day. There have been a few days when we didn’t start off on a good foot, or he slipped out the door before I got the chance to say, “I love you,” or “Have a great day!”
This event (along with the current affairs of the world) has amplified the importance of moments, each moment we have, and our words and actions, one toward another. But the facts are the same: Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow wherever we are; we might not even have the rest of today. Life is fragile. So what does your day look like, and how are you handling it, especially with your loved ones? Have you told your important someone that they matter? Was the last word you spoke to them a kind one? Because if/when the threat or tragedy occurs, you might not get to say what you wish you could. In the moment, if you only have the moment to ensure another of what’s most important between you, what would you say? And then, this most important one: Have you made your peace with God through his son Yeshua?