We have worked hard at our marriage and our careers, and we worked hard at letting our kids experience life and succeed and fail on their own. They fight their own battles, earn their own accolades, suffer through frustrating relationships, and we remain as bystanders, confidants, advisors and cheerleaders. We are gentler now, outlasting our sometimes short tempers because moments matter more. Mostly, we are the same parents Wade had before the world ended, except sometimes, we pause.
We pause before we say yes to a night out; we pause before we let our son drive to game out of town; we pause before we call to make sure he made it safely because he has forgotten to text us upon arrival. We pause.
Before the wreck, praying over my children was easy, a normalcy. There were rituals, special occasions, whispers in a moment, offerings in the midst of worry. I don't feel like I took it for granted - but I also don't think I understood. Now, a pause replaces the ritual - even the whisper.
Accepting that my God kept Taylor safe that night, just not the kind of safe I would have preferred, challenges me at my core on a regular basis.
It's not what I wanted.
I'm not implying dying in a car wreck is what God wanted - I am just realizing that my prayer life is much more complicated. I am thoughtfully realizing that the hymn, "I Surrender All" doesn't mean that God will necessarily ask for everything I love - but if my earthly treasures are taken, will I still love? Will I still serve? Will I still pray?
I will pause and not take for granted the prayer. The pause will allow me to not merely ask for the safety of a child, or a cure for a disease but also the strength to accept the answer.
Praying for safety is easy; praying for strength to accept the answer, to surrender my will is humbling.
Often, I cannot pray for Wade's safety; the words will not come. They lay buried in twisted metal and shards of glass. Instead I just whisper, "Be with him." and when I can't even offer that, I honestly whimper, "I don't know what to say."
What you want to do is beg. You want to beg God that he won't do this to you again, that you won't be asked to give up another child. You want to bargain and plead...
You cuss in anger and shudder at guilt and physically try to shake off the shadows of despair. Then you pray again and pause because you know there is evil in this world, and it can happen again. When that safety is shattered, rest eludes your heart - no matter how violent your prayers.
So we pause.
And the pause redirects me, leaving me cut open like the day my son was born with only this faith: God will be with him - until the end of age, unto the ends of the earth. So in the pause, I pray for strength to accept that promise as enough.
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
"Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath." Psalms 116:2