Losing children, resting in hope.

Honestly, we are pretty diligent about watching our kids. I mean, genuinely, we for the most part know where they are and we are paying attention to what they are doing.


We are engaged with them and watching…but sometimes, well, sometimes we just feel comfortable and we get a little lazy.


We go to church in an old Catholic School building. We meet upstairs, then we go down to the basement level to pick up Sammy. We usually end up talking in the hallway with other parents while the kids literally run up and down the hallway, playing hide-and-seek with a little notch that sticks out. Sometimes they run around a little corner where there is a stairwell. The room at the end of the hall is a meeting room for the church, which opens onto the parking lot, but the kids never go in there…they just run back and forth.






Except, of course, this one time.


When we were comfortably talking away, and I suddenly realized I had not seen Maddie. I wasn’t sure how long it had been.


I walked down to see where she had been last hiding, and she wasn’t there.


Not around the corner in the stairwell.


Not in the meeting room. I talked to the person who was ushering in that room, and he had seen her running around, but had not seen her in a few minutes. We both darted outside and asked the parking attendant…also the youth pastor.




Not panicking yet.


Walking back in, I thought back to the drive down to church when I was thinking about Maddie’s hands, and how innocent they are. I thought about how she hugs fiercely and how she constantly tells us she loves us.


I thought about how much our world has changed with this little one.


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And then I thought about what it would be like to really lose that little one. And panic did ease its way in a little.


I heard something though, that brought reality back pretty quickly…the sound of the the guys talking on the parking attendants radio describing Maddie’s dress and telling everyone to find her. And I realized where we were and then I opened the door to the women’s bathroom and found one of my dear friends helping Maddie straighten her dress and open the door to come find me.


She had to go to the bathroom and we are just completing potty training. She had been hiding right by the girls bathroom, but the door is a little heavy to open back up.


Heart pumping, panic done, radios now relaying the message that all is well. Maddie was a little scared as well, but we were all fine.


Still, there was that moment of fear, and that clench of the gut at the awareness that we live in a perilous world and we can never completely relax. Even in the places where we are comfortable.


I cannot fathom losing a child. I can only catch the glimpses I have had and they were moments of fear in the midst of a reality of many helping hands and places of safety. (Thanks, Peter and all the gang at church)


The world, though, I can fathom as a broken place where we turn around and realize suddenly that something is amiss and it throws us completely off our grounding.  Those are moments we need to know that there is help beyond us. Helping hands and those who can see beyond what we can see. Not just community, but beyond even that.


 “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” -Buechner


Yes, yes, I know. I have used that quotation of Buechner’s before. I’ll warn you that I will most likely use it again. It is simple and it is true, and more than that it lets us know that we are not alone. More than that, it gives us that glimpse that there is hope, and there is help.








We cannot simply muster these things up from within ourselves. When the need grabs hold of us, when the awareness of our lack gets our attention and we realize we cannot simply manipulate something to be better…the awareness that there is a God who is able and who is willing, brings enormous comfort.


That awareness brings us to the God who creates redemption, brings salvation. Brings life.



Plans to do….something great.

The other night we were hanging out at the inline hockey rinks. Zachary had requested his birthday party simply be hanging out with his hockey buddies and playing hockey. After a weekend of…playing hockey. The kids loved it, though, and we played until it got dark. Then we pulled out glow sticks and attached them to the kids helmets and sticks, and we used glow-in-the-dark balls instead of pucks. I parked the truck next to the rink and would “charge” one of the balls with the headlights while the kids used the other one.

One of the parents standing with us mentioned that this would be one of the memories of the kids of their summer. Mom standing there charging up glow-in-the-dark balls while the kids played as long as possible. They didn’t even want the chocolate cake…they just wanted to play.

The parent’s comment caught me, though. I’ve been thinking ever since:

“What will the kids remember?”

Will it stand out in their minds that when they came downstairs I was distracted and on the computer; focused on the lives of others while they waited for my attention? I hope not. I’ve been more present to them and more intentional this summer about doing things. Enjoying them and enjoying the wonder that is summer as a kid.

Things like:

Catching Lightning Bugs (love living in the south)

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Playing with Baking Soda, Vinegar and Food Coloring



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Water Balloon fights

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Baby Pools!

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Dinners with an abundance of color and flavor

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What will they remember?

Staying up late, sleeping in, laughing and giggling.

Road trips to New Mexico.

Running outside and the feel of grass on bare feet.

Snow cones and swimming pools.

They will remember I was there and Steve was there.

They will not remember how clean the house was or if the laundry was done on time. They will not remember if the bed was made.

Lord, help me remember that those things need to be done without taking over. Help me remember to just enjoy these days.

Help me remember that these little souls are eager for affection and attention. Help me to remember that their wonder only takes a little encouragement to blossom.

Simple things. Attention. Intention. Just being present.

They laugh at me that I take pictures of our food and of them eating snow cones…but I know these days will be gone before I am ready. Taking pictures is part of my way of holding on to the moment.

I want them to know how to play and use their imaginations, but I think more than that, I just want to enjoy them. In my enjoyment I think they find a security and a confidence to just be themselves…and know that is enough.

So, this summer is all about memories of lazy things and “unimportant” things.

I have no plans to achieve great things this summer…I have plans to wear pajamas until noon and have tickle fights.

I have plans to whisper in their ears throughout the day that they are loved.

I have plans to lay in bed with them and read books.


I have plans to listen to them.

I have plans to look at the stars and tell them of a God who is filled with creativity and imagination…and that they are made in His image.  To remind them that they are loved by this God…that He delights in them and their laughter and their wonder. To point around them so that they can learn to look with wonder and hope and awareness.

Maybe I do have big plans after all.