Perhaps you’ve seen the window decals or bumper stickers of proud parents. They tell us a lot about what’s important in that family’s life. But it never occurred to me until today: there’s one bumper sticker I’ve never seen… even though I think it would be the most important of all.
You’ve seen the standard messages:
– My kid is an honor student at _____ school
– My kid hacked the database, and is now an honor student at _____ school
Or, for the more “physical” crowd:
– My kid can beat up your honor student
For some, it’s a sports-related decal with a team logo and number. It’s a proclamation of dedication and belonging… a sense of identity.
And parents go to great lengths, and great pains, to make sure their children study… practice… hack… or whatever it takes, whether it’s taking them to 5am practices, or standing in the hot sun watching a scrimmage or a band practice.
And then tragedy strikes. From Columbine to Sandy Hook, and every insane event in between, young lives are taken… sometimes by accident, but sometimes not.
I’ve been thinking alot about the Sandy Hook School shooting last week. The funerals are starting. And having ridden in my share of funeral processions, I got to thinking:
What would those decals and bumper stickers stand for in a funeral procession?
If it were on the car of the deceased, I would be reminded of the terrible sense of loss. What a waste to take this young person from the world.
I think I would feel the hopelessness of the situation. If this were our best and our brightest, what hope is there for the future now that they’ve been taken from us?
And if the decal was on the other cars, the friends… the survivors… would it remind me that this could happen again at any second? Would I live in fear of the possibility? Would I be reminded that even the strongest, fastest, and smartest can fall prey to senseless violence and tragic accidents?
Where is comfort? Where is hope?
I wonder if it’s in the decal I haven’t seen.
It would be a decal that would be made fun of if times were “normal,” whatever that means. People would dismiss it, or think, “What a loser.”
But in times of tragedy, it’s the decal I would most want to see.
It would provide the space to feel some of the things mentioned above: the waste, the sorrow, and the mourning. But it would also allow me to feel more.
It would signal resiliency… an ability to bounce back… the promise of picking up the broken pieces and the beginning of healing.
It would be a beacon of hope… that this present darkness is not the final answer and will not prevail.
It would be an assurance… a reminder that love is more powerful than hate, and there is nothing that can separate us from that love… not even death.
What would that decal say?
“My kid follows Jesus.”
That’s the one I’d want to see.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Rom 8:38 NLT)
What would have to change to put Christ at the center of your life, and the lives of your family? Why not start making changes today?