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Produce Aisle Peril
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Recently, I made the optimistic decision to do some urgent grocery shopping with my sick toddler.
 My typically cheerful child had been unusually volatile, so I brilliantly thought that his shiny, blue, starfish balloon would be a comfort and distraction. But as most seasoned parents know, optimism is not a substitute for reality.

I had only made it two aisles into produce when the knot securing the balloon to his wrist failed me. I turned to see his starfish swimming northward. In superwoman fashion I leapt four feet off the tiles, nearly knocking over a pyramid of Johnny Gold apples. A super-mom will do anything in moments like these. Centimeters from the tip of my middle finger, tragedy struck. And there it was, resting among the rafters, 20 feet above. 

My son, still in the delicate silent stage that all parents recognize and dread, was hoarding as much air as his lungs could possibly hold and then, finally, he let it out. It was the cry of deep loss.

Someone with good intention once said to a distraught toddler, "It's not that bad, buddy.” But since becoming a parent, I cringe at those words. 

Imagine your world is fresh and your worst tragedies so far have been a skinned knee, or being made to try just one bite of a mysterious casserole, or the cat scratching you after you sit on him like a horse and scream, “kitty-up!” 

Deep Loss

These events might be hard for some to empathize with. After all, it may have been a few decades. But we all have experienced deep loss on some level. 

A loyal pet died. Your house was foreclosed on. You lost a job. You lost a family member to cancer. Your marriage ended and your heart is broken.

I’m so very thankful that Jesus has never said to me, “It’s not that bad, buddy.” 

Among towering apples, ripe strawberries, and the gawking stares of strangers, I sat down on the cold hard floor and let my son cry in my secure arms. 

In moments like those, when my heart is breaking for my child, I think of Jesus. Someday, I won’t be around to comfort my son. But Jesus will.

Jesus won’t ever dismiss his sadness. He will get down on the floor, hold him, let him cry and then pick him back up again. 

As petty as our earthly problems seem, and maybe as trivial as our child’s problems seem, they are real heart-breaks. May we seek to demonstrate the love of Jesus to our children. May we seek to listen, empathize, and console as Jesus has done for us.

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