Not Choosing Fear (and other 3AM Lessons)

Let me tell you where I’m not right now. I’m not on a plane. I’m not heading to Dallas. I’m not going to make the connecting flight to Belize. At least, I’m not going today.

My family and I had the perfect get away planned. Six days (five full ones) in Belize. We were going to sit on a beach, seek respite from busy lives and big problems. My sister and brother-in-law spent the night last night and we all got up at 3:00AM, overflowing with excitement. Then, we found out our flight was delayed and we’d never make it to Belize on time.  We’re sad and angry, and my mom broke down this morning. She’s been working pretty much everyday since December, and needed this, all of it. We’re staying in Dallas for an extra day and shortening our beach time, but there’s worse things.

In fact, if you thought this post was just going to be complaining about a vacation, you were wrong.See, if I could sum up the last few months in a word, it’d be “heavy.”

While I am missing my flight tonight,  78 people in Istanbul missed theirs. 41 of them will miss graduations, weddings, birthdays, Sunday mornings, and good books. 41 of them will never see a sunrise again; they’ll never kiss their child’s boo-boos; they’ll never wake up angry and have a whole day to fix it. 41 people are dead. 37 people barely escaped it. Hundreds will never be the same.

The global economy is in a tailspin after a UK vote was cast. The same vote that got an MP murdered.

A family friend of ours just learned the cancer came back. It’s in her brain, and her spine, and her breasts, and her liver.

An orange Hitler has a 1 in 4 shot of becoming an American president (and the others aren’t much better); a child was killed by an alligator; 49 people were slaughtered for being who they were; a mom viciously killed her two daughters.

Nowhere and nothing seems safe anymore. I am afraid and I am angry and I am sad and I just want to get away and go back to a time when the worst thing that could happen to a person was a broken crayon. I want ignorance. I want peace.

I have no idea what God’s planning and I have even less of clue what the hell it is any of us are doing. We spend hours screaming at each on Facebook for voting differently than we do, and then ask what kind of hatred it must take it to kill someone at a dance club. We  think that a missed or delayed vacation is the worst thing that can happen to us. We build categories for people so that we can feel better about ourselves, and then wonder why terror groups like ISIS can exist.

But here’s what I do know: when Abraham held Isaac for the first time, he didn’t plan on God asking him to make the ultimate sacrifice. When Mary gave birth to a king, she didn’t plan on having to escape the wrath of another one, and she definitely didn’t expect to have to see him tortured and killed, while people cheered. I’m also sure Job never planned on losing every single thing he ever loved.

The other day, my sister, my mom, and I were talking about our fear. Maybe, we said, it’s the end of the world. Maybe the second coming is getting closer. No sooner had the thought left my mother’s lips, than my sister said “but… I want to be a mommy. I want to raise my family.” It reminded me of a song from Noah Gundersen.

And Jesus, Jesus, it’s such a pretty place we live in
And I know we fucked it up, but please be kind
Don’t let us go out like the dinosaurs
Or blown to bits in a third world war
There are a hundred different things I’d still like to do

Here’s the thing though: after we’re blown up or after a meteor hits us, or after a gunman shoots me dead in my school, I know where I’m going.

If I have to stay a night in Dallas, to spend 4 days in paradise, so be it. If I have to live through Herod, to make it to Calvary, so be it. If I have to die tomorrow, I may as well live today.

I don’t have much time left. I am choosing, right now, for as long as I can, to not spend it in fear. I choose light. I choose faith, come what may.


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