What a weekend.
I spent Friday afternoon scanning online news updates of the tragedy in Newtown, afraid that if I watched the live TV coverage, I'd be too much of a wreck to pick up Princess Peach from school.
I felt trapped between the senseless evil of this massacre, and my new understanding of how children are put into real danger every single day by all manner of craziness. I felt almost overwhelmed by the fear and anger, desperate to do something. And yet aware of how little we can do.
Don't worry, I'm not climbing on a soapbox. It's just that as demands for gun control and mental healthcare reform fly across my Twitter feed (and for the record, I'm for both), I know how useless such measures are in stopping evil. Our laws don't have that kind of control...or miraculous healing power.
We are (I am) desperate for rescue from the constant threats that assail us and the people we love. We do the best we can, and yet we're waiting, hoping for something better, something that will really help. Someone that will really make a difference.
On the way to school this morning, flustered by the new level of fear hovering in the air and trying not to show it, I was SO frustrated to find that our usual route was blocked by construction, and the next two roads turned (inexplicably, without warning) into one way streets a block and a half down. There were repeated three point turns (and suppressed four letter words).
Princess Peach is very tuned into the emotions of the adults in her world, so she asked me, "Are you angry?"
"No," I said, trying to sound reassuring, "I'm just frustrated - all these turn arounds are making it hard to get you to school."
"JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH!" She yelled.
I took a deep breath, trying to say calm. We're working with her on the whole "Not using God's name as a swear word" thing (and how there is some language you don't get to make choices about until you're a grownup.) Then I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw that she was pointing. I looked, and sure enough:
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. A manger scene, lit from within, covered in icy rain.
Tears filled my eyes. Thankfully, the light turned green just then and I had to focus on the road - it gave me a moment to re-gather my yard sale of emotions. When I looked back again, I saw Princess Peach still looking out the window, smiling.
I don't fully understand, and yet I know: The hope I'm longing for this morning is in that manger.