I sent my kids off to school today with cotton masks to protect them from the brokenness of the world - a flimsy shield indeed. I can't pretend it inspires much confidence. I second-guess my decision more with every hour that passes.
It's hard not to wish for an easier year. I know we've had them - years where life felt reasonably safe and easy. I can't remember the last time everything felt just as it should be.
But, maybe that's a good thing.
When life is too comfortable, we may forget how challenging it has always been for other people. We slip into the ease of our circumstances and lazily praise God for our blessings. But when the world is burning, the one upside is that we all begin looking for buckets. We team up and form a brigade passing water along to anyone who can get the water we have to share a little closer to the hot spots. There have always been hot spots. 2020 is not unique in the suffering it has ushered in; it has only been unique in that no one is exempt from suffering. Everyone is forced to recognize the flames at their doorstep. No more sitting in the safety of our front steps and marveling at the beautiful sunset breaking through a hazy horizon.
The world is on fire. And so we remember that none of this is how it should be. Armed with that knowledge, we are empowered to become the best versions of ourselves, looking for ways to redeem whatever bits of brokenness we can.
In a few hours, when my children come home from a school day that has put us all a little more at risk, I want to fight the urge to simply wish for a safer year. I want to remind myself that the world has always been broken, and keeping ourselves safe from the brokenness is a sad endeavor compared to the high call to enter the flames with the water we have.
Amy Noel Green is a Ted Speaker, author, and video game designer. She received international press attention for her work on the video game "That Dragon, Cancer." The video game tells the story of her son Joel who died from cancer at the age of five.
She is the author of the upcoming book, "Dear God, How Could You?" (When Joel died of cancer after years of miracles, Amy questioned God. She shouted her betrayed, angry questions at the God she no longer understood. She buried many miracles with Joel. She buried her relationship with God too, but God’s love for her refused to stay in the grave.) Subscribe for updates on the bottom of her about page, to be notified when her book is published.