It has been a joy to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends over these last few days. Watching the little ones play video games and hearing the amusing conversations of our teenagers adds to another nostalgic memory that I will have with me forever.
I settled down to relax from the festivities of these last few days only to see on the news that funerals were held today for some of the children who died in the horrific bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At that moment I was reminded that I was blessed to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends. I was reminded that I had another holiday to share with my daughter, to see her smile, and to hear her laugh.
I grieve for the mothers who have to endure the pain of burying their children today. I grieve for the mothers who will not have another opportunity to share the holidays with their children. Yet in my grief I also pray for those mothers to have the strength to endure and remember their little angels during the holidays. I believe the painting below by Sandra Kuck is a pleasant reminder that our children are God’s little angels here on earth. I am remembering the lives of the little angels lost and praying that God’s covering is over every school bus that transports our children to school tomorrow and every day.
Rose of Heart Painting by Damika Davis
We never know the impact hurt has on someone because we have gotten used to seeing them masking it on the outside and keeping it moving. In the midst of this taking place we generally hear someone else comforting the hurting by saying, “you will be fine.” We hear this when someone has a death in the family. We hear this when someone is ill. We hear this at the end of a relationship. We may also her this when someone has an accident. The question I have often pondered in my mind is, how do they know everything will be fine when we can’t see the hurt below the surface?
This past weekend, while stopped at a traffic light I was rear ended by a young lady with a minivan full of kids. The impact jolted both my daughter and I forward and back into our seats. After exiting our vehicles, the young lady apologized and admitted she was distracted and in the same breath told me I would be fine. Since she couldn’t visibly see any damage (although we both could see that my bumper slightly shifted) she figured we were good. She was very nonchalant about the accident and ready to drive off keeping things moving.
I have seen this same type of nonchalant behavior so many times in the workplace, in my relationships, at my daughter’s school, and in our communities. There seems to be little or no regard for how we treat each other, how we speak to each other, or about the actions we have taken that negatively impacted someone else. It’s not a big deal to the person who caused the hurt so they figure it should not be a big deal to the person they hurt. Food for thought, just because the hurt lies beneath the surface doesn’t mean that it isn’t valid.
We have to really get to the point where we can voice our hurt. We have to get a point that when we are the one doing the hurting we at least try to empathize with the person we hurt. We have to get to the point that we are not so quick to disregard the feelings of someone who is hurting and move on. We have to get to a point that we comfort those in trouble the same way God has comforted us (2 Corinthians 1:4). We should able to offer the same type of comfort when we are comforting others and doing more than saying “you will be fine.” I am so grateful that God is always there to comfort me to let me know that I can endure even through the hurt that is below the surface.
Last week my daughter saw a friend’s story on Snapchat that one of the students in her freshmen class took his own life. It was something the student would jokingly make statements about on several occasions leading up to the Snapchat post. We now know that another student made up the rumor as a prank. All it took was one rumor that quickly spread through Snapchat to make the story appear real.
Although this was a prank, my concern was whether anyone addressed his comments about taking his own life. Would this push him to follow through? Does his parents know about what he said? Who is going to have the crucial conversation to address the real issue? Sadly, things like this go unnoticed and significantly impact more families than we think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10-24 years. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6408a1.htm)
Life changing moments happen to our children just like they do for us. When the life changing moments occur for your child, are you taking notice? Do you have the crucial conversations when your child inquires about death, feels like their life isn’t worth living, or wonders what would happen if they take too many pills at one time? We can make a difference with how we respond.
A mother’s intuition is real! When you see that there is a change in your child’s behavior and/or attitude please take action immediately. We have to make it a point to listen to our children when they are speaking out loud about issues or challenges they are facing. Try not to take it too lightly when you sense that there could possibly be a problem. Please have the crucial conversations, listen, and take action. If your child doesn’t want to talk to you then have them talk to a counselor or someone else they can trust. The most important thing is that you address what they are going through before it’s too late.
Photo Image: http://www.mhai.org/sndbx/resource/content-references/
I will continue to pray for the student at my daughter’s school and that he discovers that his life is indeed worth living. Grateful that the Snapchat post was just a rumor and that he was not another teen who became a statistic.