I am a Texas Mom: What You Can Pry from My Cold Dead Fingers
Perhaps I am weak.
Maybe I am a coward.
In the two-ish years since I became a blogger, I have been called a number of things. From behind my computer, it is easy to say stuff and then cry on my bathroom floor when I feel the backlash… or the love.
When the Florida shootings happened at a nightclub in Orlando in June of 2016, an irate reader messaged me and said, “I guess you only talk about the #manbabies when it is your handsome sons, not my dead gay son.”
I grieved my response.
What would I have said?
I lamented over the message, but I wasn’t ignoring the issue, it just wasn’t what I came here for… I didn’t come to be a political space. Yeah, I have raged against the stomach bug… but somehow I believed I could be the middle ground.
That neighbor, you know her, she has coffee on or a diet soda, she can make you laugh, sit with you while you cry. She will gladly pick up your kids, drop off a pie, and love you for who you are. No, don’t call me lukewarm. I am passionate, but do I have to take sides? Can I honestly acknowledge my life is a hot mess… oh, and I genuinely like you too?
When our oldest son became a Marine, I was “drafted” into a whole new world. As a Marine mom surely I had an opinion. So when I got a hateful email asking why I hadn’t said anything about the NFL and the players who would not stand during the National Anthem, I wanted to say, “Cause, I am still the middle ground.”
It isn’t that I am not patriotic. I got a lot less so during the last election… and a lot more so at my son’s graduation from boot camp.
My boy, the little tow-headed cherub who played war hero in his underwear and cowboy boots, has an uncertain future, I don’t know where he will go, what he will see, or what could be lost. What he signed up for, I won’t lie, horrified me. I cried and begged him to reconsider, I daydreamed of his glory days, no, he was too gangly for the NFL, but certainly, the NBA would have been safer and higher paying than the USMC. And so I closed my eyes, I replayed him dunking that basketball, for the 100th time just two summers ago. How did he go from Starting Post to Combat Engineer and who can I talk to about changing these titles so that I might get a good night’s sleep?
“Mom, I think this is who I am. I have listened to all the recruiters, I have prayed about this… I am supposed to be a Marine.”
Alas, this boy is who his father and I raised. We take no credit that he chose this course. We went to church, ate organic spinach, took in foster babies, and tried not to cuss.
Maybe I should have told him to look out for himself?
No, I have watched my children, all of them ooze compassion. They stand in the gap for injustice when they see it. I have seen every single one of them kneel beside a foster sibling and nurture… greater still, love fearlessly.
They did this in spite of me.
So, I don’t know if I can say that taking a knee for a belief is bad unless your boss has told you to stand in which case, he’s your boss. Stand or face the consequences. And I can’t fathom what it is like to face the kind of oppression that some who kneel have faced. So much that they are willing to risk it all to protest. But as a mom of a Marine I will say this, we live in a country where no matter what you stand or kneel for, my boy would lay down his life for your right to do so.
Many have gone before him, many will go after him in this the land of the free and the home of the bravest boy I know.
I am passionate about this, but I am able to keep my footing and listen and not lose it if you don’t agree?
Coward? Or just a middle ground?
And now, my state, a state where guns are the norm, has faced the most gruesome of attacks, in church. 26 people dead at the hands of a madman with a high powered gun.
Will I not say anything?
And I have really prayed about this Y’all. You, my tribe, women… moms and not moms, grandmas, foster moms, adoptive moms, aunties, sisters, friends, and a few men. I can’t pretend we don’t own guns. Heck, I own a rifle range. But as I prayed and felt compelled to say something every breath was still… a middle ground.
Because the audience I speak to is weary, like me. We are in search of something. Sometimes it is so easy to pick a side, or a party, or one issue and die on that hill with the rest of the lobbyists – especially when there is a horrible injustice or bloodshed.
And yet, my neighbor’s son might be gay, my new friend may have had an abortion, suicide, a victim of sexual abuse, an alcoholic, an addict, a friend of a friend… gunned down at a concert. And if there is no middle ground? No safe place to go and laugh, cry, or just be indifferent… a place for nonsense and mischief that means – everyone must take a side.
And then, where on earth would we go to heal?
I won’t lie, I am horrified. I am scared. But while I won’t get into gun control here, I will not let the world and its wretchedness take my hope.
I believe there is still good.
I believe that more often than not hurt people pick radical sides in the hope, they will find an answer for their pain. That it is for a good reason. And I do not condemn them for that hope, nor do I rally against a battle for that which they believe in or are adamant against.
But I won’t give this space up, this sacred space, what you cannot have is anything more than my belief that I love and serve a good and loving God. A God who loved this crappy world so much, He gave His only Son… that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
You can take my life….
You can take this platform, book sales, and all the promises of this world. But you will never, ever take my belief in this God, whose ways are perfect. As long as I have breath, that is my passion. As long as I have a voice, this is my battle cry.
This place, this middle ground, you are welcome here, to seek Him with me. You won’t find strong political opinions, on occasion I tell folks to shut up, and I stand by my war cry to stop the spread of stomach viruses. However as bad as it gets, no one will ever take my Belief that Jesus is the answer.
Every argument, every struggle, and every battle we rage for or against cannot soothe or solve or heal like my Jesus.
Yes, every knee will bend… every tongue will confess the glory of my Jesus.
This I cling to… until my very last breath.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
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