Dear Aylan

Imperfectly Brave




Today I wanted to write you a letter about all the good and all of the beautiful. In fact, as I sit here writing you, I am looking at farm weeds that a friend brought to my table last night. Wouldn’t you know they are lovely. Weeds that are lovely. They remind me of what is to come. Fall and apples on trees and hay rides. This makes me smile. But today, my lovely friend across this screen, I just can’t knock my heaviness. I’ve seen things this week that a human shouldn’t ever see. There is a picture painted in my head of little Aylan washed up on the shore. There are the words of the father saying that he gathered his family in the waves and they were all dead. My dear girls, how do we live in these places?


He just wanted to escape and take his family to a better place. Mr. Kurdi was just being a dad. Like our dads. Like American dads wanting good things for their children. He was so noble and good and right and real. And then the smugglers and the rubber boat and the waves and the last breaths.


This week I took my girls to the zoo, and little Aylan, I laughed with them. I held them so close and I giggled at penguins and we danced in front of polar bears. I let my girl rest her head on my shoulder, and I didn’t move an inch because why would I? She was in my arms — alive.


I am so sorry, little Aylan.


With the yellows and the brown leaves and the weeds poking over my computer, all I can think is that this world will never do justice wholly. We will never be able to stop all the smugglers and the hate. We will never be able to know why your life ended so soon, little man. I want to know. I want all the bad to go away.


Today, the weeds make me ache for heaven.


But just as they sit there they are still standing so lovely, I believe I understand. This is how we live in our hard places. We actually go there. We don’t turn away our eyes. We listen. We hear. We repent. We weep for our world, for our children, for Aylan.


And we pray. We pray to a knowing God who cares more for His children, than in my humanness, I could ever imagine.


I just need to be sad for little while, friends. I just need to cry. Maybe we can all stop for a moment and be sad and be with God and crawl in close. Maybe we can be broken and real people who cry hot tears. This is where the weeds become lovely — and it is where God becomes real.

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