The Space Between If and Then

IF ____ happens, THEN ____ will happen.

Maybe.

But what IF ___ happens, THEN would ____happen?

Hard to tell.

I am guilty of this line of thought. Of over thinking, over analyzing, and of imaginary worries.

Guilty of made up scenarios that taint my perceptions and, often, my mood.

Guilty of planning a future that may never take place, or building an argument that didn’t actually occur.

It’s silly, really.

But it’s so real.

The desire to forecast our lives, and try to put into context where we are now to try to understand where we are going.

But what if there is a space between IF and THEN.

What if we could let ourselves believe that it’s not up to us to make these predictions.

What if we could truly believe that we are not in charge, and that there is something greater driving our lives.

What if there is a space between if and then?

IF there is a space between if and then, THEN maybe I could stop borrowing worries, and just trust that there is someone else who knows exactly what His plans are, and I am exactly where I am meant to be.

 

 

The Purpose of Prayer

I heard it once before, when my son was playing with another boy at a train table. My son, then two, grabbed a train from the other boy, who must have been about four. I immediately rushed over and talked to my son about how we don’t grab, the importance of sharing, and my son handed the train back. The older boy was so mad that he took the train and said, “I will pray for you.” After a quick glance to his mother I realized that this was ok with her…he had been taught to respond this way.

I have seen it more than I can bear on this day after the election, streaming in Facebook feeds and Twitter accounts. I have read so many posts about prayers for this country because now it’s in trouble, how we need to pray harder now than ever before, how now it’s all in God’s hands.

I am a huge believer in prayer. In faith. In believing in something bigger than ourselves.

But I am also a huge believer in kindness.

If prayer is an outreach of ourselves to something greater, than shouldn’t it be kind?

When we find those quiet moments to pray, or meditate, or practice our individual faiths, I believe it should be done in the name of love.

I don’t think it’s loving to use prayer as a consequence or as a condescending remark.

“I will pray for you” holds entirely different meanings when said in the name of love or in the name of hatred.

This election, as are so many other things in our lives, was emotional. It is my greatest hope that as we all reflect and process, whether we are in a state of joy or sadness, that we include prayers of kindness and tolerance for ourselves and others.

Because I believe in the power of prayer. But I also believe in its purpose of kindness.

 

All Birds Go To Heaven

“Oh no, Mommy, look!”

I turned in his direction and I followed his gaze down to the bird with flies buzzing around its head. I pulled him away quickly.

“Oh no, don’t touch. It’s a dead bird.”

“Uh oh, Mommy. Now it can not go to his family.”

“No, he can not go to his family.”

“But why, Mommy?”

“The bird is hurt. It looks like a kitty cat or a ruff ruff got him.”

Our feet pattered on the concrete as we continued walking down the road.

Should I tell him? Are we ready for these conversations?

“Now the bird is in heaven with God.”

“With God?”

“Yes.”

But why Mommy?”

“When things die, they go up to heaven to live with God.”

A long pause filled our conversation as we both pondered the validity of my statement. Can we talk about this yet?

“Mommy’s Daddy lives in heaven.”

Gentle feet pad on the cement. I look down at the top of his head. I can see his eyelashes and his brow slightly furrow as he grips the flowers he has collected tighter.

“Does your Daddy take care of the birds, Mommy?”

Surprised tears threaten my eyes as I smile and reply, “Why, yes, I guess he does.”

Chirping birds and a distant train combine with the sound of our shoes on the ground as the background track to our poignant conversation.

We observe fallen branches and white lines painted on the road. They were meant for traffic but they make a perfect balance beam for my son to follow as I walk beside him. His concentration is on the line; the steadying of his feet one in front of the other.

My concentration is on him.

As the line fades and we near the next cross street he says, “Mommy? And your Daddy will say, no no kitties and ruff ruffs we do not hurt birds.”

“Yes,” I realize and speak out loud, “that is probably something he would say.”

The rest of our walk is speckled in conversation about looking both ways and not throwing trash on the ground. We stop to admire flowers and bugs and I watch as he delights in walking down into a shallow ditch and climbing back out.

As we near our house, he breaks into a big grin and runs to the driveway. “That was a good walk, Mommy. Now I am thirsty.”

It was a good walk, love. A very good walk.