This summer, a friend of mine invited me to be on a parent panel.
Yes, a parent panel.
I asked her if she was thinking of a different April or a different month but she assured me that I was indeed the person she was looking for.
When it comes to writing and talking about Middle School students, identity, belonging, and purpose, I feel adequate. I feel like I know what I'm talking about because I've spent the last 12 years completely immersed in these arenas, learning, growing, and soaking up any and every bit of information I can get so that I can be more equipped and empowered than I was prior to that information.
But parenting? Lord, help me.
And a panel? That would almost suggest that I 'know' something about the subject. Last time I checked, this girl was Googling what was the suggested amount of sleep for a kindergarten boy. And to be honest, I only looked it up so that I could feel a little less guilt over saying yes to watching one more Mickey Mouse cartoon on Disney+.
It's an honor to sit on this panel with two fellow parents and be interviewed by another parent (shoutout to Mariah, Sara, and Amber). As we sit around (or in our little squares on Zoom), there's a collective sigh of "you're figuring this all out, too? whew. I'm not alone in this."
That's a collective sigh that I hope is felt and heard throughout the waves of the internet and TV. Parenting is hard. Parenting in a pandemic is hard. Every human right now-whatever journey he or she is on, parent or not-needs to hear "I'm figuring this out, too." I'm hopeful that our stories or "how do I do this?" questions are connecting with others on similar journeys. That even our mistakes help another feel less alone or have greater compassion on himself/herself. The more spaces that we provide for other humans to have these exhales and collective sighs of relief, the richer and fuller our lives will be.
P.S. That one time has turned into a recurring time. Check out Studio 701 on KXMB at 9 am, Monday through Friday. Parent Panel airs on Tuesday mornings. Tune in for your collective sigh of relief.
For the last few weeks, I've felt a stirring to sit down and write. It's the feeling of a million things I want to say but not quite knowing how to say them.
Getting words down on a piece of paper (or typing them on a screen) have been one of the most healing and redemptive practices for me. It is a safe, sacred space even if those words go out all over the internet for 5 people to read.
There's something about releasing the words into the wild that are a part of the process that I can't skip through. Sure, there are plenty of things in my journal that may never see the light of day and I realize that's okay, but then there are some things that are meant to be released into the great wide open internet because it's an important step in the process. It could even be that it's vital, necessary, and a missing puzzle piece.
The words may come out shaky and wobbly like a newborn animal trying to figure out how to use his/her legs, but starting and taking those first steps are a part of the process of learning how to walk. How can I learn to run if I am too afraid to take the first wobbly steps? The shaky, wobbly steps prepare me for the sure, sturdy steps ahead. The first steps are the hardest and also most vulnerable, but the first wobbly steps are needed. In fact, what if the first wobbly steps taken propel another human in the world to take his/her own wobbly steps, too? That would make all of those shaky steps worth it, knowing that it was those uneasy, unnerving steps that ignited something in someone else to take a step forward, too.
Consider this the moment that was being searched for as a sign or gentle nudge to take the shaky, wobbly steps forward. Whatever has stood in the way, consider this the moment that those roadblocks have been pushed aside. That the path has been made clear for the first shaky, wobbly step to be taken. Everyone has to take a step at some point.
May this be the moment.
Step forward even if its shaky and wobbly.
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way."
Jesus came to preach the good news to the poor, to set the captive free, to bind up the broken-hearted, to usher in the Kingdom. A new way of living. A life that would be as though heaven had come to earth.
Followers of Christ have a beautiful mission to join him on: to make God’s Kingdom known here on earth as it is in heaven.
To bring peace where there is chaos.
To bring justice into the areas where there is injustice.
May we, friends, live into the calling set before us, to be peacemakers.
To be the ones who seek after the justice rolling like a river, ones who thirst for a never ending stream of righteousness.
If our hunger and thirst for righteousness and truth means that we hunger to be the ones to say "I told you so," I don't think that has anything to do with Jesus.
Jesus did not seek to cause panic and chaos. He didn't seek out to upset people with conspiracy theories. He upset people with the Truth. Capital T-truth. The Truth that he spoke about that he had come to upset the old and usher in the new, the new that had to do with the abundant life he sacrificed his life for. That was the Truth he spoke. It wasn't for his own standing or his own ego. It was to reflect the Father, His goodness and righteousness.
Let us be the ones who usher in the Kingdom.
Let us be the peacemakers.
Let us be thirsty and hungry for justice, not for "I told you so."
Let us be the ones that seek the peace and prosperity of those in our neighborhoods, in our cities.
Let us be the ones who are merciful for the tired and weary.
Let us collectively build the Kingdom instead of trying to build our own Kingdoms.