Saturday, March 26, 2005


Falling Off the Edge of the World

I just came across James Lileks' Bleat from this past Wednesday. In light of the recent tragic school shootings, Lileks describes a parent's angst, and our struggle with how to protect our children from evil.
Nowadays we trade freedom for experience – better that the kid have New Experiences under close safe supervision than they wander off into the world. For the world isn’t round, after all. It just looks that way from space. It’s square and it has edges and sometimes people fall off and that’s the last you hear from them. A million kids will run outside to play tomorrow and all but one will stay clear of the edge. Do you want to take that chance? You want to be the one parent today who looks up from the sink and sees the black and white in the driveway?

But there’s nothing you can about the kid who gets his heart kicked and shunned and stabbed from day one, grows up compressing his rage into a tight dense knot, gets a taste of evil – rolls it around on his tongue – likes the taste, and starts to drink it the way you drink Coke. There’s nothing you can do – the same circumstances might have produced a jackass who kicks the dog for sport but keeps his finger off the trigger, or a fellow dead to all emotion, or a man who takes the collar and preaches in the ghetto. Sometimes you get the killers. But these things are comets, as rare as the horrible days where some kid sees the sharp crease where the square edge of the world falls away. Dwell on these things and you’ll go mad yourself. Resign yourself to the fact that you can’t protect them in the end; they’ll go out in the world and get their ego bruised, their heart broken, their dreams sullied and tarnished. All you can do is teach them to remember: if bad news defined the world, it wouldn’t shock us when it happened. Face the sun; it’s there for a reason.
And the only thing I would add is Providence: God can make a difference in our lives and help us make sense of our world when evil walks among us. May we continue to turn towards Him and may He help us to see those wounded among us who have not yet tried the taste of evil.

Take care of your children. Know when they're hurt, try to find out who is doing the hurting, and try to get them some help. Attend to them. Hug them and love them. And never stop pointing them to the source of all love and understanding: our God, who is an awesome God, and who reigns, in Power and Love.

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