Today, I had the privilege of taking last day of school pictures of my kids.
Last week, I attended my son’s 4th grade recorder concert. This morning I attended my daughter’s Kindergarten Graduation Celebration.
This week is hard for parents, students, and teachers across the country. Not every parent will have the opportunity to watch their kids play an instrument on stage or sing and dance with their class.
Not every parent will have the chance to watch their kid’s soccer practice or musical theatre performance.
Not every parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, friend will be celebrating a graduation this week or next month.
Not only because of gun violence, but also because of sickness, cancer, car accidents, addiction, and so many other things that take away those we love most.
I tried to find a perfectly posed photo of my kids to include in this post. I couldn’t find one. Then, this picture caught my eye. Both of my beautiful children with their eyes lit up, looking up at their daddy.
I am deeply grateful for the chance to be present for these moments.
If you need a piece of joy today, look at these sweet faces. Look at the faces of children as you walk through Target or the grocery store, as you eat at a restaurant.
These children are the future of our country. And they are good. They carry with them dreams and hope. They hold possibility and change. They embody wonder, curiosity, belief. AND THEY ARE GOOD. So so good.
Even in the darkest night, under the gray clouds of mourning, their flicker of light is present.
I know people are angry. Yet I can’t help feeling like anger isn’t the answer (though it’s entirely understandable). I think the answer may be something deeper. I think the answer is more love. More looking through the eyes of Jesus.
Jesus SAW the sick and wounded. He didn’t hang his head and walk on by. Jesus WELCOMED children. He didn’t ignore them in frustration as they asked their many questions, or made their many sounds, as they ran underfoot.
Jesus didn’t put people down for admitting their weaknesses, their sins, their frailty. He opened His arms and welcomed them just as they were. He still does that today. He welcomes us with open arms, in all our failures and empty promises, all our shoulds and wish I coulds.
In this moment, I choose to see the good. I choose to open my eyes wide. To do my very best to SEE people, and WELCOME them just as they are.
I choose to do what I can to ensure the children within my circle of influence have someone to talk to. Someone to help them when challenges arise.
I choose to pour into my children, to teach them to love unconditionally, to reach out when someone is hurting, to ask for help when they feel sad and alone. I choose to do my very best to open my eyes and SEE them, not see them how I want them to be, but how they truly are.
I choose to look for that flicker of light in their eyes and to draw closer to that light. To encourage it, welcome it, listen to it. To bear witness to that flicker of the Holy Spirit, the good, the hope, and the promise of who they are today and who they will become tomorrow.