I’m fearing for my daughter’s future this morning.
With every breath. And not because she is in danger. Or even in crisis. Or even the target of any perceived threat. She’s fine. More than fine, really, even as she faces challenges beyond her years and that she should not have to face. My fear for her is not imminent. But it is no less real.
Because there are things I know that she does not.
She does not know that 1300 Kentuckians have died already this year of a opioid overdoses. She does not know that the United States and North Korea are engaged in what I can only describe as the most jacked up and most potentially devastating game of Chicken I’ve ever seen. She does not know that I sometimes stay awake at night worrying about the future of healthcare in our nation. For her and me both. She does not know that her social and emotional wellbeing are more at risk these next few years than they have ever been or ever will be in her life–because such is being a girl tween and then teen in this day and age. She does not know that tensions run fast and high and vicious in our community and in our country when it comes to race and ethnicity and every other way we can “other” a group of people…and I fear for how those tensions may explode for her and her peers in really scary ways. She does not know… She does not know… She does not know…
What she knows, even with the heartache she’s lived, is that the world is full of good people. And that it’s possible to face the unthinkable and survive. And that she is loved. And that there are safe places in the world for her to grow and learn. And that she will never, no matter what, be alone.
With all that I am I want these truths to hold for her. With all that I am I wish that every child knew these truths.
And yet, still, I fear for her. Because the world seems hot and angry and brutal right now. Not so much our small corner of it. But the world at large. The world she’s growing closer every day to being aware and a part of.
I fear for all our children, because we don’t seem to be doing a very good job of listening to them. Of putting them first. Of securing a safe and bright future for them. We’ve got our priorities all wrong as a larger community, and our children are the ones who will suffer most.
And I cannot fix it. I cannot wave my wand or push a button or flip a switch and make it all forthelovestopalready. I cannot. And this pains me every moment of every day. This morning it feels particularly heavy. Because this morning a whole lot feels at stake as I see and hear and read about what’s happening in the world and try to process what it might all mean.
I fear. For her. For all of us.
And in the face of it I know only two things to do: Love more (and harder). And pray.
DO NOT understand me to be saying that if we just love and pray everything will be okay. I’ll leave that to cheesy greeting cards and Facebook memes, thanks. Loving harder and praying more does not at all guarantee that everything will be okay. Not by a longshot.
But it’s all I know to do. And I can’t help but think that in doing it, in loving harder and praying more, I stand a better chance of being reminded of all that’s good in the world. Of being challenged to speak up for those who can’t, and speak out when it’s necessary. Of being inspired to work even harder to help…wherever help is needed. Because loving harder and praying more…they do not fix what is wrong with the world, but they do transform me. They transform how I enter into relationship and how I face conflict and how I handle difficulty.
And we’ve got no chance of a transformed world if we cannot first see the things in ourselves that need transforming.
And so as I pray fervently for peace, I pray to also be a peacemaker, especially because I know I can so often be the exact opposite. As I pray fervently for a way forward for our country, I pray to be a part of the solution. And as I pray for all the broken places–both globally and personally–I pray for the strength to be a healer.
And I pray for my daughter. And her friends and peers. That we might somehow find a way to leave them a better world than what we’ve currently given them. That we might somehow–by some beautiful miracle–understand that our profit, our gain, our power, our winning, our supposed greatness–none of it means a damn thing if we have not accounted first for our children’s wellbeing.
Because otherwise…I do not know what is to become of us.
And so somehow, some way…may it be so.