Friday, March 25, 2016

Terror Sucks.

I was planning to talk about self possession, self love, and positive thinking/affirmation today, but I can't. I have to talk about Terror instead, at least for today. This morning when I went to drop my kids off at school, it was just a regular day, mostly. But it changed quickly, morphed into something deeper, something much more meaningful. Let me share with you a little taste of what my week has looked like.

You know that on Saturday, I teamed up with a number of other authors to have an amazing time at Romancing the Smokies. I was charmed by Tonya Kappes, fell in insta-love with Suzan Tisdale, who knew what a Selkie is, and shared a fun and beautiful table with Andre Renee Smith. I was given a beautiful and unexpected gift basket from Dona Minton (as yet unpublished but with a WIP that I'm already DYING to hold in my hands), and I met a ton of sweet new readers who all seemed like beautiful people. I enjoyed dinner afterward, with Andrea, her husband, and the always entertaining Felita Daniels, and I giggled my shocked way through a conversation about -- of all things -- dinosaur-on-human sex books. Seriously, did y'all even know that was a thing? Because it is. We googled it. It was gross.

Sunday, I rested. I slept in, I hung out with my kids, and I thought back on what I learned at RTS. I tried not to think too much about the snippet I saw online from that one story called "Taken By The Raptor." I began to formulate ideas for a meet-and-greet style event I'm thinking of hosting next year (to help plan that event, click here). I called my printer, with whom I've been having a minor struggle over some seriously terrible printing errors (the covers on my last book shipment were printed with MUCH too much red ink ... everything looked a bit roasted).

Monday was productive -- being well-rested from a much-needed day off, I got lots of writing done on my current WIP (Selkie II, which I am SO ready to share with you!!), cleaned my bathroom a bit, decluttered a bit, cleaned all of the bedclothes, and did some other little stuff. Then I rested a bit after picking the girls up from school, made a giant pot of cheesy potato soup for dinner, and sat down to enjoy the first episode of this season's Dancing With The Stars. It was a happy couple of days.

Then I woke up on Tuesday to hear about Brussels. To hear about the bombing there. To listen to the news continue to recount the slowly growing count of the dead. To listen to various politicians use that tragedy to further their agendas. To look at my own family with grateful eyes because they're still here, still solid and living and touchable. Tuesday morning, Jo (12) asked me about Isis, and (not for the first time) why it feels like Muslims hate everyone, why so many of them want to kill everyone who isn't like them. She asked me why they are the way they are, why they believe what they believe.

We talked (again) about how one type of people is not always represented by one or two or many of their kind. We talked about how white people aren't all racist, black people aren't all criminals, asian people aren't all smart. We talked about how all dogs aren't vicious, all cats aren't hunters. All snakes aren't deadly. We remembered going to see Zootopia a few weeks ago, and talked about the underlying lesson in racism and wrong it is to judge others without truly knowing them.

We talked about the differences and similarities between Christianity and Islam, and we talked about how even though we are conservative as Christians, we aren't hateful or extreme in our desire to see other people come to Christ. We talked about how some Christians ARE hateful, and how that works against what we believe. We talked about how important our mission is as Christians, to share the love of God with the world, while also gently teaching about His desire for our lives and our behavior. We talked about the strict and sometimes merciless Levitical teachings of the Old Testament, and we contrasted those teachings with the gentle loving way of Jesus, who taught the way of God with His heart and not His fist. I used that as a teachable moment for my daughter, who was hurt and confused about the tragedy in Belgium, and the kind of men who commit such crimes all over the world.

Then we talked about hate, and we talked about that one big fundamental difference that separates Christians from Islam. The one big difference that started it all, that tore two groups of people so far apart that they've been killing each other for centuries. We talked about Abraham's sons, Isaac and Ishmael, and how they fathered Christianity and Islam through Jesus Christ and the prohet Muhammed. We talked about what that difference means to us, and what each religion believes of other religions. We talked about how every religious group has a level of extremism, and she said, "Not like Islam, though."

We talked about a girl I used to know, that I was close friends with for a long time, and what a peaceful, sweet person she was. We talked about how soft spoken she was, how funny she was, how fun she was to be around. We talked about how she is the general Muslim, and how jihadists do not represent the whole. She told me about a friend she has at school, a Muslim girl. Curious, I asked her, "Oh. So she's nice, right?" Joey said she was, and I asked her, "So ... how do you know she's Muslim? Do you talk about it, or does she wear a hijab to school or something?" And my daughter, my twelve year old sixth grader, said to me, "Yeah we talk about it sometimes. She said they probably would wear those, but they don't now."

It made me sad to think that a person is afraid to be what they are, at twelve years old, because of someone else's fear and intolerance. We talked all the way to school about understanding and prejudice, about injustice and death.

That was yesterday, for me. You won't see this for a few days but I'm writing it on Wednesday morning, and today we talked about hate on the way to school again. We talked about the pictures we saw on the news this morning of some of the Brussels bomb victims. And then we got to the middle school, where the entryway was filled with police, and I had a strike of fear jolt through me -- not because there were police at my daughter's middle school, but because if they were there, they were there for a reason.

They were doing a random weapons check. At my daughter's middle school.

In an instant, it made me remember Columbine and how I felt the first time I went to school with the stench of fear all around me, how it felt to sit across from one of "the trenchcoat kids" and remember the horrors inflicted by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. It made me remember the first time I felt a personal sense of prejudice against someone else because of the way they looked or the way they carried themselves.

So with tears in my eyes that I hoped my daughter wouldn't see, I opened my mouth, speaking with a thickened voice I hoped my daughter wouldn't notice. I told her to stop by the group of police officers as she walked into her school, to tell them good morning and to tell them that her mother thanked them for being there. I told her to be safe at school, to be a good girl, and that I would see her this afternoon. And just like I do every morning when I drop my children off at school, I told her I loved her. And I hoped it wouldn't be the last time.

Because terror is everywhere, and it doesn't just wear one face. It doesn't come in just one color, it doesn't speak with just one language. But the world we live in now is not the same as the one I grew up in.

It saddens me to know that my child will one day be randomly chosen for a weapons search, that she'll watch someone search her backpack for knives, for guns, for signs that she might be a danger to the students around her. It saddens me to know that they'll search her friend's bags, that they'll search other children's bags. It saddens me that I'm glad they do that, to protect my daughter from herself, from her friends, from her fellow students.

But for now, I'm going to schedule this post for the twenty-fifth, trusting that nothing will have changed again by then. I'm going to go dry my eyes and wash my face. I'm going to pour myself a glass of Starbuck's Iced Caramel Macchiato, and I'm going to bury myself in the fantasy world of Selkie II. I'm going to write until my heart doesn't hurt anymore, and then I'm going to comfort read for a while.

Or maybe I'll just call Dana.
Either way, I wish you Happy Reading.
B.

P.S. Don't forget to check the sidebars on both the blog and the newsletter. On the blog, you'll see interesting things like featured posts and what I'm reading lately, and on the newsletter, you'll find the monthly giveaway winner(s), as well as the winners for any contests I'm currently holding. And speaking of the monthly giveaway -- it's going to be changing! Please fill out this quick form to find out why and help me decide what changes to make.

P.P.S. I'd also truly love to have your input in planning my first annual reader event in 2017. Help me out with this form, too.

2 comments:

  1. Love your post and how you explain the hard questions of the world to your girls.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm trying to raise kids who truly can understand other people, even the bad ones. I don't want them to be filled with hate, but I also want them to know our family draws a line between right and wrong. It's a fine balance to maintain.

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