No one actually thought that the world was going to end on Friday just because once upon a time the Mayans said so, right? Sure - it was a great excuse to throw or attend a party because there's just not enough eating and drinking and being merry already happening this time of year. I am happy to report that I did discover a new favorite wine from Trader Joe's in celebration of/preparation for the Mayan Apocalypse. It's a red that pairs nicely with a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit sandwich from Mama's Boy the next morning.
Before I actually sit down to type a blog post, I come up with a rough draft of it in my head. [I might have used the same approach with my grad school applied project.] Earlier last week I was thinking about how I was going to blog about what we would do during this week if the world really was going to end on Friday. How would we live? Who would we see? Where would we go? And then that unimaginable Friday morning happened. The end of the world came far too early for some precious souls.
There's really nothing that I can write here that hasn't already been written in a more eloquent way. I didn't plan on writing about it but before I yammer on endlessly about this being the most wonderful time of the year and all the ways that I love Christmas, I just feel like it's appropriate to acknowledge those young lives and the ones who were lost trying to defend them.
What happened in that elementary school or the events in that young man's life leading up to that morning will never make sense to our human minds. We may try to understand the why or the how, but there are some things that will never ever make sense. For me, this is one of those things. Instead of getting completely bogged down in the media coverage, I've spent a lot of this week praying for those moms and dads and thinking about what we can learn from those kiddos.
A couple of weeks ago I started reading John Eldredge's book "Waking the Dead". In it, he uses Saint Irenaeus's famous quote: "The glory of God is man fully alive." I've heard this many times before but it really struck a chord with me in the wake of Friday morning.
Even if we've never raised a 1st grader, we all have an idea of what 6 and 7 years old looks like. We've seen it in nephews or nieces or younger siblings. We've been it. The argument can be made that every age is the "best age" but at 6 and 7, there is such childhood innocence that hero worship is usually still reserved for immediate family. Older siblings are the best body guards and playmates available. They haven't realized that in just a few years they will be teenagers which means being an expert in life so there's a genuine and natural curiosity about the world. There's a recognition of differences between people but those differences are usually welcomed because 6 doesn't understand socioeconomic status or political platforms. Six isn't perfect because there's a knowledge of right and wrong. There's consequences. There's the ability to get angry and frustrated over circumstances. There's also the ability to forgive and forget in time for recess.
First graders are full of life. Each day they bring God glory without stopping to think about it. Maybe it's because they aren't focused on the doing, they are just focused on the living. Where is our focus? Are we so focused on the individual tasks that we forget the bigger purpose and reason behind them? This quote is a great summation of a general theme of some stuff that I've been learning and coming to understand for the last several months. Maybe it's just me but I think there's a general tendency to think about God in terms of eternity so there's the knowledge that we'll be fully alive forever when we're with him in heaven. But this world is not just a really cool airport that we're in for a layover until then. We bring him glory when we approach each day with a bit of childlike innocence and energy. What if we met strangers with a sense of curiosity and respect, offered forgiveness as freely as a first-grader and willingly shared our possessions without considering the dollar value of them? What if we could read those questions without the cynicism and jadedness that we learn so well in adulthood creeping into our minds? I don't write this to make life sound so simplistic and idealistic that if we just follow these easy steps life will be a cakewalk. Because it will not be. I do think there is no harm in deciding to try to live more fully alive. We might surprise ourselves. We're still here. Let's get started.