My sweet girl. Sat on the sidewalk and wept. The ground supported her weight but not her disappointment. Some friends, a little older, had left her behind. As they rode away on their bikes, she labored to keep pace on her scooter. But the gap was too great, and she couldn’t catch up.
In a tantrum of raw emotion, she went kicking and screaming back home. Clamoring to recapture a moment that had disappeared on two wheels. It was of epic proportion, on display for the neighborhood.
I wasn’t unaware of or insensitive to her hurt. But from the 1000-foot view of adulthood, understanding the science of speed, dinner time and five-year-old logic, empathy took a backseat.
As I lay in bed that night remembering her tear-stained face, a memory washed up of an eight-year-old me, crying on the school playground over similar feelings of abandonment. It was nothing done intentionally or mean-spirited on my friends’ part – just like her little friends, they were just kids being kids riding bikes. But just like hers, my young heart sought inclusion and devotion and grappled with its source and my need for it.
I’d failed her in many ways by talking out of my 1000-foot window rather than coming down to meet her on the street.
My heart ached for her as my memory collided with her reality. I got out of bed and tiptoed into her room to lay next to her and give her a big fat sleepy hug that she’ll never remember.
She’d set off that day, like most days, with the intention of finding a friend to round the block with. When her plans unraveled, so did she.
How often in each rotation of the earth, as mom to my three little people or just in life, have I been there, am there. Day in and day out.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Even when the Lord’s truths pour out like rain, how often I am bottomed out, sobbing in my unbelief, kicking and screaming for all to see when things did not go as planned.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Sometimes, we all just need a moment to come down from the ledge of disappointment so that we can more clearly see the face of truth.
God’s promises for her cradled my weary soul as I wrapped my arms around her back home, knowing pint-sized and gorilla-sized grief are all pretty much the same dang grief, and told her we could try again another day, maybe tomorrow?
I told her that our God will never leave us or forget us or our hurts. That he created her in his image, so intricately and intimately, and that her emotion will never surprise him or ever be too raw or too great for him. That, in flesh, he chose to experience each and every emotion she would ever feel, particularly the abandonment of friends who loved and adored him. That he did not stop at making each glorious waking morning for them and her but secured for us an eternity in which our hope can be anchored. That his love is never-ending.
Undoubtedly, this soothed my soul a bit more than hers, still reeling from her momentous loss. But it was plenty good enough to remind me to stop trying to put my mom-fix on it or move on from it.
But, instead, to hold her hand and let her sit with disappointment for a while, get to know it, talk to it, and turn it over and over in her fingers.
And then throw it hard like a stone.
Becca Bishop is a wife and mom to three tiny humans, ages 5, 3 and 2 months. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado where she works with Compassion International.