Archive for May, 2008


Ok– I am in the world of dicey wifi, so I better make this quick. We are in the gorgeous town of Savannah GA, after invading spending the night with a certain Momma Lloyd, who was foolhardy gracious enough to host the entire thundering horde of Taffs. I also spent a few days hanging with Alyson and Linda, so TRUST ME, I have tales to tell! Wait– so do they. Hmm… I’m keeping my mouth shut.

As soon as I get this internet mess figured out I will write a REAL post, but for now I will leave you with a photo we took at Bonaventure Cemetery, one of our favorite hangs in Savannah. Yeah, I know. We’re weird that way.

I look JUST like this when I’m all pensive and stuff.

More later.

The Chapman Family

I am writing this post through tears that I can’t seem to control.

Last evening we got the news that a fellow Christian artist, Steven Curtis Chapman, lost his 5 year old daughter Maria, when his teenage son accidently struck and killed her in the driveway of their farm. Maria was the youngest of Steven and Mary Beth’s six children; the three youngest daughters were all adopted from China. The Chapmans are adoption advocates and activists, and have formed a foundation, Shaohanna’s Hope to help provide financial assistance to families seeking foreign adoption. It was by all accounts just a terrible, tragic accident– Maria was playing with two of her siblings by the side of the long gravel drive, her brother was going to the house, she was in the road, he didn’t see her…  No charges are being filed, and they aren’t releasing the name of which of their two sons was driving, though of course, that will be coming out sooner or later. The press isn’t going to let that remain a mystery, I’m sure.

When I became a mother, I experienced that thing that I have heard described by a lot of women, that thing where you find your heart somehow unexpectedly laid bare, exposed and raw in a way that it hadn’t been previously– not just to the fragile, vulnerable new life I was holding in my arms, but to all fragile, vulnerable living things everywhere. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. There were TV shows I simply couldn’t watch anymore, and true crime books (which I had always loved) I couldn’t read anymore. Any news story about missing children, any St. Jude infomercial with pictures of little bald kids fighting cancer just undid me. Hell, a dead cat in the road stayed with me for days. It’s as if my eyes were suddenly opened to all the many, many ways there were out there in the scary world to lose the thing you love the most. It didn’t turn me into a paranoid fear-freak mom, but it gave me an awareness that I now had an Achilles heel, a defenseless place inside with the potential to annihilate me that I had no protection against– my love for my children.

As my girls are getting older and growing out of my arms and moving into their own young lives separate from me, I am even more keenly aware that I have no power to stand between them and the things out there that can hurt, or even destroy them. I can’t prevent their hearts or lives from being broken. I can’t keep addiction and crime and violence and illness and accidents from happening to them. I can’t make their choices for them, or prevent them from experiencing the consequences of their bad ones. My faith teaches me to surrender them to God’s care, and trust that He will be as hyper-vigilant as I am. I try so hard to believe that He gets the fact that Madi Rose and Charlotte are extraordinary and wonderful and He needs to take really, really extra-special care of these two. I’m sure Steven and Mary Beth feel the same way about their chlldren.

See, the thing is, this is a really good family. A generous, loving, do-way-more-things-right-than-not family, who has handled the success and fame that has come their way with humility and wisdom. I’m not trying to deify them, they are normal, flawed human beings, but seriously? They are the real deal, the kind of people that give Christians a good name for a change. It makes this situation even harder to take.

This kind of loss is incomprehensible to me. It out-tragedies even my most vivid what-if nightmares. The trauma to the children that witnessed the accident, the horror of the injuries, the panic and confusion, and the son, dear God, the son. I can barely stand to think about a teenager–like Madi– trying to cope with the life sentence you know he’s placing on himself.

I don’t have an ending for this post. I can’t just throw out some scripture or spiritual cliches, I can’t wrap this one up in a bow and make it all OK, or let God off the hook for it. We live in a fallen world and really horrific things happen to really good people for no good reason and it makes no damn sense. The only thing that brings me any comfort at all is knowing that the Chapmans will be surrounded by all of the love and compassion that they can bring themselves to accept, and that they are a strong family unit that knows how to care for one another. My prayer will be that in this darkest night of the soul any human can endure, that it will be enough. Please God, let it be enough.



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