The night lingered on and all subsided back to normal. Excitement cooled to end of night, which meant bedtime. And then another day.
Before the next day’s arrival, I laid restless tangled in bad.
From the very moment each of my daughters entered this life, they have owned pieces of my heart.
When tears well in their eyes widened or victory swells in their hearts soaring, I am with them attentive to the emotion present. I love seeing them succeed. More so, their faces lighting up bright and bold send my heart into the sky. A smile slides across their face evidencing a flash of brilliant accomplishment in their growing little hearts, and I know they feel good.
Conversely, my heart sinks with theirs when they come up short, get it wrong or make mistakes. In my head, I know these moments may end up being the best teacher to them, but still, it’s typically harder for me to watch them realize they’re on the wrong end. Failure on any level is tough whether you’ve failed or the situation has failed you. As they sink into themselves and darkened emotion they fade momentarily, and I know they feel bad.
These are two states of being both leading parallel off course.
As a parent, my top priority is to love them as complete as I can. For me, loving them in this way means to rid their little hearts of both misguiding thoughts and lock them on course to a healthy tomorrow.
Good and bad, defined in our effort and action that lingers, staining, as tomorrow killers and God haters.
I remember being held down under water, breathing in episodes between sinking. Life rose and dipped in moments good and bad, the latter deceptively not the worse. As I sat before bedtime that night my family just returned from a church service not on a Sunday, then known as revival nights. Typically, a traveling preacher would be a guest at our church bringing a message for those in the church.
When I was young revival boiled down to our need for forgiveness and the reality thinned by fear that our lives could end in the blink of an eye or Jesus could return. If we weren’t ready, we would be like one of the foolish virgins in scripture who were unprepared in the way they lived.
The way they lived.
The way I lived
. . . measured in effort valued in good and bad.
For years leaning into tomorrow, I felt my way forward led more by slumped shoulders than learning steps. Grace would find me, but our paths wouldn’t cross for years just run in a sort of parallel fashion, skimming close.
God was loving but somewhere aware of my doings. Unable to be in my bad, and I was too good and un-needy for Him when I wasn’t bad.
Tomorrow killers. God haters.
As a parent, I see the bobbing of my daughters’ hearts, how they rise and fall in good and bad choices and actions. Effort so easily displaces grace’s irreplaceable work. The lie that we can be good by not being bad is venom needing to be sucked from our veins feeding our human hearts.
I still find comfort in good piled high in my heart as though I can appease God and prove myself wise in my way. As often as I can, every day, I thieve from those little hearts beating as my own.
Good must be stolen by grace.
And so we are learning together that good is a lie just as vile as bad outright. In this confession, we re-cling to grace often, free and clear.