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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Please Don't Kill My Kid

Hey. Can I show you something? Grab your phone. It’s within twelve inches of your hand, isn’t it? Now take a look at your last three texts. I’ll wait…
Oh, here are mine:
~ Lori, re. my daughter’s birthday (her daughter can’t make it)
~ Dana, in response to my question about her new job
~ Julie, can my kid cat-sit next week?
How about your last three emails? Me?
~ An ad from Amazon
~ A response from my colleague about a marketing idea
~ From the VBS director about praying for our kids this week
One more? Facebook notifications:
~ From FB: “People are looking at your Page! Write a post now!”
~ Someone in my crochet group posted a new pattern
~ I got a new Like on my last post
What does every one of these distracting little bings have in common?
They’re not worth my kid dying over.
My son is volunteering this summer at a parks and rec camp for handicapped kids and adults. I’m so proud of him I’m thinking of making him his own five-layer chocolate cake just because. Picking him up after his job has been tough, however, because I have to pick up his little sister at exactly the same time, fifteen minutes away. So he’s had to wait for me.
Today, he’s decided to bike instead.
And I’m terrified.
Because I’ve seen how many people drive their cars while holding their cell phone screens next to the steering wheel. I’ve seen cars narrowly miss clobbering the vehicle next to them because their drivers were too busy dialing or scrolling or clicking to notice that they’d wandered into the wrong lane until the other driver honked in terror.
I almost rear-ended somebody one time because I was three words away from finishing a text and I just. couldn’t. wait. (Thank you, anti-lock breaks.)
It’s not worth it.
It’s not worth it.
It’s not worth it.
Put the stupid phone away. Please don’t kill my kid because you can’t delay the gratification of knowing what someone said about your photo on Instagram until you arrive at your destination. That thin line of white paint on the pavement—the one that separates the car lane from the bike lane—won’t do a thing to keep my kid safe from you if you’re navigating your phone instead of your vehicle.
I know how hard it is to ignore the alerts. But I’ve committed to never touching my phone when I’m driving, because I’ve told my kids that if I ever catch them touching their phones when they start driving I will take their licenses away and feed them to the paper shredder, and I will flay my progeny within an inch of their lives.
Because it’s not just their lives they’d be jeopardizing.
It’s the life of the toddler who pulled away from his mom and ran into the street.
It’s the life of the pedestrian who played chicken with the WALK sign.
It’s the life of the kid on his bike.
I’ll bet if you checked your texts, emails, and notifications like I did, you discovered (like I did) that there’s nothing so time-critical it couldn’t have waited.
If there is—maybe you’re the only doctor in the world who has the knowledge to save that patient and you have to do it right this moment—then pull over. Stop driving, and give that business your full attention.
Otherwise, put the phone away while you’re operating a ton-plus slab of hurtling metal, against which a bike helmet is no match.
Please don’t kill my kid.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

No Little Prayer

I’m going through something right now. It involves someone that’s not me, so in the interest of that person’s privacy I won’t go into detail, but fear over this thing has been keeping me up at night, as well as jettisoning my appetite into a far corner of the space-time continuum.
The good news is I’ve dropped five more of those baby pounds that I really can’t keep blaming on my now-teenagers.
Recently, during another sleepless night, I called a friend in a different time zone and she prayed for me. After we hung up, I texted her to say thanks. I typed:
I’m going to pray a little more before I try to go to bed.
And because autocorrect has so many times bitten me on my bottom-parts, I went back to proof it before hitting Send. It read:
I’m going to pray a lot more before I try to go bed.
I didn’t want to give my friend any false impressions about my piety, or make her think I intended to stay up for hours after she just prayed for me to find enough peace to be able to sleep. So I put the cursor at the end of the word lot, backspaced, and retyped little.
It autocorrected to lot.
I tried again.
It happened again.
little à lot
little à lot
little à lot
It’s no exaggeration to tell you I tried six times or more to get that sentence to read little.
But little would not stay little.
I gave up and sent the text: I’m going to pray a lot more before I try to go to bed.
Then I started a new text message, and typed:
Spacebar. No change.
Send. No change.
Holy God. (And that’s no blasphemy.)
This thing I’m dealing with, God seems to be saying, demands prayer. Not a little prayer, but a lot of prayer: a lot of prayer from me, and a lot of prayer from my prayer warriors. It’s going to take all the prayer I can get, from all the places I can get it.
Because it feels like we’re standing against the whole savage world and the bloodthirsty legions of hell with this one.
And we are.
But God.
But God said…
But God remembered…
But God intended…
But God did…
But God was…
But God came…
But God struck…
But God charges…
But God drags away the mighty by his power…
But God will never…
But God redeems…
But God promised…
But God knows…
But God is…
So there is no little prayer, because “the prayer of a righteous person has great power” (James 5:16) through the grace and sovereignty of the Almighty One.
And this is no place for a little prayer.
I am going to pray a lot more.
I may have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
But I will fear no evil.

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