Scared of the Sad

“Mama! I can’t watch this!”

I’m surprised her little voice was audible, as my ear was harshly pressed against the coffee maker, willing the gurgling noise into existence. Oh, please start dripping before the first crisis of the day.  My eyes just opened 7 minutes ago.  I’ll admit that I use Disney Jr. as the trusty babysitter in times of dire need- like, coffee.  Need coffee.  But she’s never said that before.

Shuffling my sleepy feet, I did what I thought was a decent run into the living room.

“What’s wrong? Is something scary?”

My surprise was detected.

Ellie swings like Tarzan from curtain rod to curtain rod.  Fear isn’t something I thought she could manage.

She watched “Brave” at twenty months, scary, fang-thrashing bear scenes and all without a single comment other than, “Wow”. I cowered in the couch.  It scared the crap out of me.

She was leaning over, as if trying to protect herself.  I looked at the T.V. and tried to catch up on the ever evolving, Jake and the Neverland Pirates plot line.  It seemed that Jake had lost something he loved, and he couldn’t find it.  His friends were nowhere to be found.  He was all alone.  And my daughter was covering her eyes.

“It’s not scary, El.  It’s ok.  Jake will find it and his friends will come.” I halfheartedly reassured her. Cooooffffeeeeeee.

She looked up at me with mistrustful eyes.  I had missed the point somewhere.  She readied herself to explain to her clueless Mama what the trouble was.

“He’s so sad, Mama.  So, so sad.  I’m scared of the sad.

Her soft words were a blow from which I stumbled to recover.  The cry of our hurting world, our neighbors, our leaders, our families, our friends came out of her little mouth.  Everyone’s so scared of the sad.  What have I done to counter it with the Gospel I’ve hoarded?  It was the sob of the broken and the lost that found it’s way into my house, under the guise of a pink Disney Princess nightgown and a yogurt frown and it could not wait until I’ve had my first cup of coffee because people were crying and dying and lonely and so broken hearted they could scarcely lift their heads.  They could not wait.

I sat beside her, my eyes shining with tears and told her.

Told her about the man who died to take all of her sad onto himself.

Told her about how treasured and loved and delighted in she is.

How she is never, ever alone.

How she never has to be afraid.

How this life we’re called into may be hard, but it is full of inexplicable joy and wonder and beauty and love.

Always love.

And then I remembered it for myself, and for others.  We’re called to love deeply those who are scared of the sad and share our joy.  That means we have to live as though we have it, coffee or not.




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