December 9, 2010

Life lesson in the McD's parking lot

The other day Hubby had to take his work truck to one of his guys. I was to follow him and give him a ride home. Hubby left first and thought I was right behind him but Bub would not buckle up so by the time I got going I had lost him. A quick phone call and I headed to the local McD's to wait.

I pulled into a parking spot out front so I could watch for Hubby and noticed someone in the car next to me. Life was happening in my car full of cranky hungry kids who thought we were there to eat so I paid little attention to the person. Soon another car pulled up on the other side of us and caught my attention. I didn't like sitting in the dark between 2 cars with people not heading inside so I was on alert.

What I saw was crushing.
It broke my heart and gave me great pause.
It wasn't violence or filth.
It was raw human emotion.

I was watching a "child swap" between separated parents. Luggage, car seats, holidays gifts and decor moved between the cars. My truck engine and radio were on so I didn't hear the conversation but from the body language I could tell it was tense. Finally things were loaded and it was time to transfer the children. The oldest was first, probably not much younger than Bub, quickly bundled, moved to the car seat and strapped in. The second child, maybe 1 or 2 yrs old if that, clung to the parent that brought them to this place. Tears and sobbing pleas to stay with that parent filled my truck over the noise inside.

My children took notice.

Soon placed into car seats and kissed goodbye both of the kids were crying. A tense hug and the parents returned to their cars with the one now shuttling the children speeding off into the darkness. The parent left behind, the one the child clung to and cried so much for, got in the car and cranked the engine. Then the raw emotions hit and sobbing heartbreak shook the vehicle.

My children and I watched in silence.

Quickly realizing eyes were watching the person gathered composure. A desperate look shot our way and the car was gone.

I began to pray for the family in that parking lot.
I prayed for my family.

Slowly my girls started to ask questions.

"Why did they swap kids?"

"Why were the kids crying?"

"Why was that adult so upset?"

Bub kept asking about the kids and it they were OK. Then it turned personal as they all wondered if it could happen to them. My heart ached. I prayed for Hubby to get here NOW...this life lesson was not something I wanted to talk about alone with them.

Hubby and I have had our share of bad times and nearly calling it quits. This very scene is what kept us from leaving when we being too stubborn to admit we really love each other. I grew up in a broken home and vowed I would never do it to my kids. I knew this so easily could have been us if not for God.

But this lesson was deeper than just being caught in the middle of marriage tragedy. God was showing me how we over look the pain and suffering going on around us all the time. We sit in our protective bubble, trying to drown out the pain of others with the noise of the world, knowing we should help but just letting the moment pass by while we watch from comfort and safety.

I wonder if I should have done something. Should I have asked the last parent there if I could pray for them. Would it have been seen as bold and comforting or rude and intrusive?

I will never know.
My heart aches.

***identifying details have been left out to protect the family***
strangers to me but not to God

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Words of Faith

"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" -Matthew 6:27

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Psalm 126:5