Every morning, I drive through a school crosswalk. I've come to look forward to seeing the different parents and kids that are scurrying to school each day. There's an unusually tall woman who walks her little boy to school, her shoulders are always hunched, as if trying to appear a bit more petite. In contrast, there's a super cute, young mom in her workout clothes and ponytail pushing a jogging stroller and walking her little daughter who is also dressed in workout clothes, ponytail and headband. I’m particularly fond of the stout little Asian woman, who is always wearing a mustard yellow sweatsuit, walking her son while holding his hand or draping her arm affectionately over his shoulder. The grandma, who is rather obese and walks with a limp, slowly follows her grandson to school. A bit more unique, there is a set of elderly Asian grandparents. Grandpa is pushing grandma in a wheelchair as they escort their grandson to school. I smile as I watch my neighbor, an adorable young mom who carries her kids backpacks to school as they scooter along ahead of her and then she carries their scooters back home for them. There's another neighbor friend of mine who, coffee mug in hand, guides her kids down the path. Another couple from our street, are now divorced. So some days, mom is bringing the kids and, other days, dad is getting them there. There are the business suit dads ready to head out to work and the dads in jogging shorts ready to work out. While their plans for the day would appear completely different, their first goal of the day is exactly the same. On special occasions you'll see the kids wearing their pajamas, or their Dr. Seuss hats, or their superhero capes. I know Science Fair day is imminent when I see moms of all shapes and sizes precariously balancing gigantic projects as they make their way across the street.
I truly enjoy seeing all these people every day. I think about how much people love their kids and I wonder if each one of them feels as inadequate in their job of parenting as I. I’m reminded of a beautiful song by Sleeping At Last called “Light”. It's a father's first words to his newborn son and the general intention of the song is his promise to do better than the generation before him. And isn't that what we are all hoping for? That, somehow, we will do better than the people who went before us? We see our children as hope and possibility. Their potential seems boundless if only we can make a way for them. Yet, we let our insecurities overwhelm us. We paralyze ourselves and only see our our failings. But I drive by these lovely strangers every day and think how marvelous each one of them is. I don't know them and they don't even know I exist, let alone that I have been in wonder of them for whole school year. And I think, if only we all just taught our kids that they are loved but they will never be perfect. That there is a savior who paid the price to cover all our shortcomings.
That all any of us needs is to accept his gift of grace and seek to follow Him. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I find such comfort in these thoughts by Joni Eareckson Tada:
“You may think, Who am I that anyone should listen to me? Why should anyone care what I have to say? Don't fool yourself. In Christ, you are completely competent. Second Corinthians 13:4 reminds you, ‘For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you.’ It is by God's power I serve the Lord. And it's by His power--and His power only--you can serve, too.”