This morning I had to take my four youngest children to the dentist. The appointment was at 8:30am which meant that two of the girls wouldn’t be going to school as normal, but would be dropped off after their appointment. It also meant that the two little boys had to get up at the same time as the school kids instead of sleeping in. To make things a little more confusing, another daughter had a doctor appointment later in the morning, so the plan was to return the dentist appointment kids to the school and pick up the doctor appointment kid at the same time to take them to their appointment. Also different, I told my highschooler to be ready a little early and I would drop her off at her school this morning on the way to the dentist.
Let me say there is no deeper confusion than that of a small child whose daily routine has been changed.
Why are David and Noah getting up right now? Why do we have to eat breakfast right now? (school kids usually eat breakfast at school.) Is Ruth (the highschooler) going to the dentist with us? Why are you taking those other kids to school? Why do we need a mask? Are you taking us? Why are we taking our backpacks with us? Why are we driving in this direction? Do you know the way? Are we going to school? Why do we have to go to the dentist??
By the time we got to the dentist I was ready to start banging my head against a wall.
Usually, if I’m going to change things on my kids, I sit them down and try to give them a simple explanation as to what is about to change and why. I try to make sure that they understand completely what is going on, just so I can avoid the million questions. But, our schedule was so wonky this morning, that I knew that no amount of explaining was going to get it all clear in their heads. The schedule was confusing to me. The adult. Comprehension was not going to be achieved.
That, of course, has kind of been the past year. Why are we home? Why is there covid? Why are we wearing masks? Why is everything different?
Then yesterday, one of my older kids decided to blurt out the recent news of highschoolers dying from gun violence in our neighborhood. This is something that I have been trying to keep from my little kids. They didn’t need to know. And suddenly all the questions.. Why are kids being shot? Who’s shooting kids? Did they die? Why? And there was no way to break through their confusion so that it all made sense. Cause it doesn’t make sense. And while I can step back and say, Yes, there is evil in the world, and until Jesus comes back, there will be bad things happening all the time, it doesn’t answer the question of, why now? Why those kids? Why did someone make the choice to pull the trigger? I don’t know.
I am not too different from my kids. I like routine. I like to know what is happening every day. And while an occasional surprise or change of schedule can be fun to break up the monotony, when weird things are happening, EVERY SINGLE DAY, it is not fun. And that has been life in our country since past March. And I also start asking the questions. Why God? Why? Can’t you just fix this? Don’t you see I’m going insane? When is this going to stop?
When things are unsettled and crazy, my kids get clingy. Needy. And I am the one they cling to. The one they need. They depend on me to be their security. Their unchanging rock. Life is crazy, but mom is still here. And that is how God is for me. As life gets crazy I find myself clinging more. Leaning more. Lord, you are my rock.
2 Samuel 22: 2-3a
He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—”
Considering that these words were written thousands of years ago, I have given up hope that there will ever be a time when we don’t desperately need God to carry us through the days appointed to us. There will always be times when life does not make sense, when our daily routines are upset, when all we have left is a bunch of unanswerable questions. The good news is that, unlike me with my children, God does not get irritated with our questions or exhausted when we cling to him.
Psalm 103: 13-17a
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him…