Last night, we learned that a friend’s son had been murdered.
One minute, we were watching, tweeting, talking nonsense on the big red couch. And the next… well, in the next minute, and in every minute that’s followed, my mind has struggled to comprehend the incomprehensible. Reeled at the horror. Grappled with the reality that there is darkness in the world that cannot be shut out or wished away or escaped. Wrestled with [so much wrestling, still] what to tell or not tell our children. And wondered how in the world what we now know should alter the way we parent.
Because my typical reaction to even the most basic unpleasantness is to promptly stick my beak into the ground and wait for dark clouds to pass, my inclination now is to run far away from all of the above. Quiet my mind. Still my heart. Hurt so much for the parents of the baby boy we met in London years ago, the one who was a big brother the next time we saw him in Houston. The one who no longer draws breath.
To hurt and grieve and pray for them…but to keep that hurt at a safe distance. And, while hurting from afar, to construct a…well, a big bubble of some sorts. To keep all the bad out, and to keep our muppers safe from the evil [is there any other word? for the force that would not only allow, but compel a human being to take a child’s life? surely not] that might otherwise find them.
Because as inconceivable as it seems on any given day, evil does lurk. And it’s my job to keep it at bay, to keep them safe. I must somehow strike a balance between giving them the freedom to be confident and capable, but also the warnings to be wary, to be smart. Be kind to all, I preach…then add inaudibly, under my breath, “Trust no one.”
The odds are good. They’ll be fine. They’re smart kids. Good kids. Great kids. Kids who’ll make the right decision even when I’m out of sight.
But God…oh, God. I wish I had a bubble. I’m sure Breck’s parents wish they’d had one, too.