A lot of strange and terrible things have been happening in the world lately. I suppose that’s been the way of the world since it began, what with Adam and Eve choosing to disobey God and everything. I’ve always found that story to be both frightening and hopeful: frightening because it reveals how much power our choices have to influence those around us and hopeful because it reveals how much power our choices have to influence those around us.
Yes, Lucy, we have power. And it was given to us. It is a gift, there is no mistaking that.
Our Creator - in His all consuming, magnificent love - knew that in order for us to love Him we needed to have a choice. Free will. Otherwise, we’d simply be His robots. And that’s not love. Control is not love. Choice is love. And in my life I have seen nothing more beautiful than the woman who - having chosen everything else first - finally comes to discover her Creator and, with Him, true love. And then she chooses to receive that love. It’s glorious. It’s redemption. And sometimes it’s quiet, at least on earth. But in heaven I bet they have a raging party.
Your Daddy and I love Jesus. And we are raising you to do the same. But we understand, deep down, that we can teach you everything we know (which - admittedly - isn’t that much) and the choice to love Him is still entirely up to you. We respect that. That’s not to say it won’t be hard for us if you don’t; I won’t lie to you, Lucy, in order to make you feel better. But it has to be your choice. No one else can make it for you. As a parent, facts like these can sting. They can pull at your insides until it feels like someone is ripping you in half. We want to protect you from all the bad and we (okay, maybe I) feel the tendency to hover 24/7 so that no harm will ever come your way. It’s that love thing again. Truthfully, though, it’s also fear. And there should be no fear in love. So you have our word that we will always do our best to let you choose regardless of how terrifying it might seem for us.
But I will also say this: your choice is a gift, remember? A gift from God. We will allow you to make your own choices based on your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual maturity. And we will oversee them until you are an adult. (Let’s face it: we’ll oversee them for the rest of your life, only when you’re older we’ll be more surreptitious about it.) We are still your parents, after all, and it's our job to equip you before you go running off into the world on your own. Try to remember that when you’re fifteen and I take your cell phone away from you. Mom might not be cool, but she pushed your ten pound body from her vagina and walked around with eight stitches in her crotch for three weeks, so coolness is the least of her worries. Capisce?
Thankfully, with all the what-ifs and tragic news headlines that dominate the public consciousness, we still have our free will. We still get to decide how we will respond to the world and to everything that comes our way, good and bad. There is great responsibility and unlimited potential in this truth. Ugliness does not have to beget more ugliness. It can beget goodness. If you don’t understand what I mean, go read the Gospels.
Every single day is fraught with opportunity to turn on the light. It all comes down to whether or not you want to.