Random Wed. part 3: When the world is scary

Today things went to a whole new level in the hood.

We have lived in North Mpls for nine years now. It has had it's quiet seasons, and it's unsettling seasons. The last couple months has seen a rise in activity.

Today while I was talking on the phone outside on the sidewalk and the kids were playing in the front yard, I had 10 SWAT team members running past me quickly telling me to get inside.

I quickly hung up, and ushered my kids inside as we witnessed the SWAT team break down the door of one my kids friends homes. He lives two houses down.

The SWAT team stayed for 15min and then left alone. They took no one with them. A squad car sat outside with officers going in and out for the next half hour.

The kids and I prayed for their friend and his mom hoping that she and he were alright. When I saw the little boy outside later that night, he looked scarred. He was quiet and withdrawn. I can't imagine what goes on in a little boy's head when 10large men break down your door and have guns pointed at your dad, uncle and all their friends.

After devotions and putting the kids in bed, the sound of sirens screeching down our street, lights going, sirens blaring got both the boys up with tears in their eyes.

"Are the SWAT team coming to our house with their guns?"

Ahhhhh....and there it is. I wasn't sure how much of the afternoon sunk into the kids, but they are very well aware of everything that goes on around them.

Middle was really scared, so I laid down with him and we talked for a bit. He had questions about what the SWAT team looks for. What bad things are in his friends house? Where were the bad guys? Why are their uniforms scary? Whey did they have to break the door? Why couldn't they knock? What is the difference between ghosts and spirits? If Fire fighters protect us from fire, and police protect us from bad guys, who protects us from ghosts? (don't ask how we got there, I am still not sure.) Are ghosts real? When I close my eyes, I only see the SWAT team and their guns.

So this was my evening. Having very grown up talks with my four year old. I've never taken care of children before my own, so I don't really know how to handle these kinds of things. I often think I should tone down my honesty, but my kids seem to be able to handle it.

The thing is, there are scary things in the world. When you are a parent you want nothing more than to keep any of those bad things touching your kids. You can shield them and protect them, and try to keep anything "evil" from entering your home or shield devises, but the truth is, its gonna get in. It always does.

My kids were really tired. I was looking forward to getting them to bed early, cleaning up an easy dinner and then setting down to sew or bringing out my favorite fall decorations. I rented a movie and my husband was with the band for the night.

I had a plan.

Then life happened. Real hard things happened.

As a parent I would like nothing more than to pretend that what happened today didn't happen. I want to erase what my kids witnessed.

Or I can invite Christ into what happened. I blend the good and the bad all together and discuss with my kids what it is to be afraid. What do we do when we are scared and saying that Jesus is with me isn't' enough.

So we talked. I listened. I gave answers when I had them and was honest about not knowing everything.

I then went and grabbed a prayer shawl that was given to middle after the tornado from Calvary Lutheran in Golden Valley. I laid his shawl on him, reminded him that he was prayed for, gave him a small cross to hold in his hand, and let him look at his Bible with a flash light to put good stories and pictures in his mind.

I know, lots of people wish and pray we would leave the hood.

The truth is we can't. No matter what happens, we are here at least for awhile.

So what does it look like to live where you are? To bring faith, love and hope into whatever situation you are given. I could wish away and dream of living on a hobby farm, but that is not my reality.

The hood is.

So how do I teach my kids to live in the messy, messy world that is truthfully right outside our door?

I don't really have a plan but to be honest.

Honest about the hard, hateful ways of people and the love that God has for sinners. Most importantly including ourselves.

Today started with middle asking me what a tampon was and how it worked. I should have known.

I should have known the questions wouldn't stop.

I should have known.