On Sunday I ran a half marathon. When I approached the finish line I heard some familiar voices. One deep and the other soft. The deep one belonged to a tall, dark, handsome stud called Husband. The soft one is two years old and she was excited to be at the finish line. Although cold, she had her little fists in the air cheering for her mama. Later in the day, we talked about what it was that she was the most thankful for that day.
Thoughtfully she said, “I’m thankful foooor… the finish line!” Her sweet little voice back dropped with a round, contemplative face had spoken. And her words penetrated my soul.
The truth in her statement, of course, made me smile. Without knowing it, my little one had spoken profound words.
Yes, sweet girl; I, too, am thankful for the finish line.
But the more I pondered her gratitude, the more I realized that, while true, it had a giant gaping hole in it. No, I don’t expect a toddler to understand the big, big world and the meaning it all holds; but I, as a grownup (although a reluctant one sometimes) know that there is more to be thankful for than just the finish line.
I want to be thankful for the miles before.
Every day we are faced with something that scares us, whether the small voice in our head that whispers doubt into our souls or the headlines that scroll relentlessly across the television screen broadcasting hatred, pain, and death.
We are now, probably more than ever, greatly and deeply aware of the evil that surrounds us and many of us, myself including, wish for different times. And add the responsibility of raising young, tender, impressionable hearts to the mixture and its a big 'ol pot of scary stew continuously simmering and threatening to boil over.
I am afraid.
I am afraid for myself.
I am afraid for my children.
I am afraid for my country.
I am afraid for the little boy down the street who isn't there anymore.
I am afraid for the family I can't hold on to because they live too far away.
Fear threatens to cripple me and I wonder what it would have been like to be alive before. Maybe just a few decades back when terrorism was a distant idea and violence in schools was limited to the occasional fist fight.
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