Thursday, January 13, 2011

How Well Have We Loved?

 “…So sudden loss causes us to look backward - but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if we've shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame - but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.”  

President Barack Obama, January 12, 2011

When I’m sick and run-down, I cry even more readily than usual.

Last night, I flipped on the tube while James was eating his supper. His parents were out, so he was dining at the Munchkin Manor.

I don’t know if it’s because brain trauma issues are too close to home, or what… but I was drawn in by President Obama’s words at the Tucson memorial in a very intense way.

I have an idea of what Gabby Giffords’ husband is going through right now. (And what Joanne Heim's family is going through right now. See the most recent prayer request on Margery.)


it all hit me in an unexpected way. As something not removed from me. Not just another terrible thing on the news that doesn’t affect me.

I took it personally.

By the time President Obama got to these words about the little girl who lost her life:

“That's what I believe, in part because that's what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.
I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All

of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's


I was sobbing.

Crocodile tears,

and lots of them.

I tried to be quiet about it, but James kept looking at me from the table.

He tried all of his usual tricks to cheer me up.

I put on a fake smile. “I’m okay,” I told him.

But when they flashed the murdered little girl’s picture up again, I started (as quietly as possible) wailing.

He got down from the table and came up to me. He put his arms around me, and said, “Mimi, it’ll be okay.”

“I know,” I sniffled.

Then he put the full weight of his little self into my left shoulder.

“I love you, Mimi.”

To my knowledge, it was the first time that he has ever said that to anyone without a prompt.

Without an “I love you, James,” first.

Without a “Tell Mimi or Big B (or Mommy or Daddy or Honey or Poppy…) that you love him/her.”

He said it first.

And that was incredibly huge.

I want to tell you something.

Something that I think is very, very, very important:


It really does.


Dear Father,

Please pour out your unconditional love on us. Forgive us for all the ways in which we hurt you and each other. 

Heal our land, and heal our stubborn, hardened, self-righteous hearts.



It doesn’t matter what your politics are. If you are an American, you owe it to yourself (and the rest of us) to see this.


Anonymous said...

Kim, WELL SAID !!!

Best wishes for the New Year to you and FAMILY !!!

Paul & Marilyn

Laurel said...

The President rose to the occasion. It was, IMO, the best speech he's ever given. The crowd reaction was at times inappropriate to the event but his words were just right.

Jack said...

That little girl's pic got me too.

Unknown said...

My hubby and I are in ministry in NH. We sold his business almost 10 years ago to come here to plant a church. We were blessed to have Jay's father come to an annual conference in Sept. to speak to pastors and their wives. I have been following Katherine's story every since and praying for her and your family. I read your blog more than any other and love you even though we have never met. My heart is close to you for some reason ( God probably)
I have no story like Katherine's but I have six children (all here in NH) now ,3 married, 3 teenagers still at home , and two grandchildren. My 17 year old was very ill when he was nine years old and the doctors thought he had ITP. Later he was dx with what is called Evans Syndrome a very rare blood disorder,that effect his platelets . He sometimes would reach very dangerous levels at lower than 10,000 (normal is between 150,000-500,000) or he could have a spontaneous brain hemorage( maybe that is our link in some way) I have walked many a road with God through this journey. He was put on a chemo drug that put him in some type of remission for the last year . He is very athletic and was unable to play sports until the doctors in Boston were able to stabilize his counts. He has played Varsity baseball and soccer and basketball !!!! If you saw him, you would never know he was sick but he is,that is hard too,but I am thankful for all God has chosen to teach us through this trial.I begged God to let it be me, but He said No. This is much to long but I wanted to let you know there is a stay at home mom and grandmother *Nannie,who you minister too. Sometimes I cry when I read this, much of the time I laugh. I miss my southern "girlfriends" and I have this secret desire to jet to the West Coast to soak up the rays and see beautiful California. One day,the Lord willing I will get there :)and hopefully get to meet your sweet Katherine.Thanks for putting this message up ,how long would I have been reading about you and your family and not one peep from this side of the ! You are a blessing and I am going to pray you get well very soon. love back to you,Katie Oliver (my name is Katherine too )

Anonymous said...

brilliant. I love Obama. I was in DC 2 years ago to see his inauguration - a treasured, profound memory. God is using that man. The president's words actually motivated me to do something nice and not something petty this week. Praise God! Love, Michelle

Peggy Dabbs said...

So moving and healing and hopeful!

Marielle said...

This is a great post. Thank you Kim, I really enjoyed reading it. Hope you are feeling better!

Anonymous said...

He has a great speech writer, doesn't her?? katie

Anonymous said...

whoops doesn't he??

The Mom said...

Thank you. This post transcends political affiliation and speaks to the core of who we are as human beings bound together by our depravity. Love is the answer. (I know this refrain is (for me, at least) a quirky reminder of the 70's tune by England Dan and John Ford Coley.) It just happens to be true. Thank goodness that there is a powerful antidote to the evil in the world.