It's been a sad cycle of news these last few weeks. We've heard reports of children being slaughtered in Iraq, thousands have died and suffer from Ebola, Robin Williams committed suicide, Michael Brown was killed, an American city is in emotional upheaval reminding us all of our nation's rocky history, and James Foley was murdered for all the world to see. These are just the things I can think of off the top of my head. I know there are more and it's hard to take it all in. I don't respond to major news stories usually. Most of that decision is owing to the fact that I don't know enough about it to offer any credible insight into the situation, and almost all of it is owing to the fact that others (much wiser than I) have better things to say. So I listen and think and talk and pray. But I rarely write about it.
I'm not going to offer any commentary on any particular situation. Again, even though I'm writing about the generalities of our sad news cycle, I still don't feel adequate to speak into any one situation. But I am going to speak to one thing that unites a large percentage of our global population.
I'm a mom.
My heart has been slowly breaking as I processed each piece of sad news these last few weeks. With each snippet of story I saw, one thought kept coming to my mind, I wonder how the mothers are doing?
Motherhood is the great equalizer for us as women. It's why we share birth stories with complete strangers. It's why we offer advice with a new mom. "It will get better," we assure her. It's why we cry when we see other mothers sending their children off to college (or the first day of school). We've been there. We know the feeling. We've felt the morning sickness. We've felt the first kicks. We remember the feel of their heads when the nurse first placed them in our arms. We've been up late at night with a sick toddler. We've kissed a skinned knee, packed a lunch, wiped a tear, and never once have we thought we would be the one to say the final goodbye to them. If the thought has crossed our minds, it's been in our deepest nightmares.
But as I've watched the news lately that's all I can think about. The mothers. The mothers who have rocked their babies to sleep and read them books, now burying those same children in the cold, dark, ground. And I can hardly choke back the tears.
Whatever we believe about any situation that is happening in our world (whether or not missionaries should go to places that threaten their lives, who was at fault in the death of an African American teenager, how to handle the suicide of a celebrity, or how to respond to the crisis in Iraq) one thing is certain, the people we are talking about as the latest fodder for the evening news are children of grieving mothers. Whatever is true about them, their mothers lost something that can never be replaced--or at least are facing the possibility of the loss.
And while I have no answers to the many problems facing our world I do have this. Tears. A mother's heart breaks the same no matter where she's from. And this momma is grieving with her.