Last week my kindergarten teacher was murdered....three through and through bullets in her torso. Her husband got three to the torso and one to the head. After a week of searching for their son (alleged suspect--a year younger than me), police found him during routine traffic stop...just seconds before he took his own life. A few days ago, I found out a high school classmate was found dead in her apartment. And two friends of mine are mourning the loss of friends....one lost at sea after a diving trip gone wrong and another hit by a car crossing the street. And we've all had a rough week at the hospital...the holidays always seem to bring sad times in pediatric intensive care units. I remember very few holiday seasons that weren't filled with tears at work. It's a dark place.
And yet, I can't imagine the dark place a child has to be to kill his/her parents. I can understand not obeying parents...I can understand being angry at parents...I can even understand hating parents. But I hope I never understand the dark place one has to be in to kill their parents. (or to kill anyone actually!) Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a church in North Carolina and oddly enough the message was about God's commandment to honor your parents.
Honor your father and mother.
The pastor did a fabulous job explaining God's commandment to honor our parents....not love, not respect, not like. Just honor. It was an interesting spin on God's understanding that parents aren't perfect and some parents aren't even likable. But God commands us to honor our parents because they are our parents. Honor is the least you can do when you have great parents and the most you have to do when you have horrible parents. Anyway, it was a great reminder of God's understanding of the parental role in life. And it continued to magnify the darkness a child must be in to take the life of his/her parents.
And it caused me to reflect on the darkness people feel in their hearts especially around the holidays. Life is tough...I mean really, really tough sometimes. And unfortunately, we all have to endure it until we meet our maker someday. He gets us through it...but it's still tough sometimes. God doesn't promise an easy life. He just promises to be there. But some people either don't know God and His amazing, incredible ability "to be there" or they forget. Because it's really easy to forget He is there sometimes. When you are trying to understand why people get lost at sea or die crossing the street, it's hard to see God there. But He is. And we just have to keep reminding each other every day. And we need to remember we are all at different places in life. And the people that are living in the dark places, they need a little light sometimes.
So as I go about my business this holiday season, I am going to do my very best to make it part of my business to shine light in the dark places. Instead of letting the traffic and long lines and angry people get me frustrated, I am going to remember some people are in dark places. And what they need most is a smile, a friend, love and patience. I'm going to do my best to remember that it might be the littlest thing that keeps a person for retreating further into the darkest of places. And I pray those around me will shine light on me if one day I am ever heading for darkness.
The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
A kindergarten teacher, the Son and light,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.