I watch them from the kitchen sink.
One has all the lightsabers, the other none, and they claw for them. I see Cain and Abel on their faces, and it scares me.
I set down a plate and walk outside. I tell them to go to their room, to their bed. I tell them about playing nice and loving your brother, but I can’t express the other things.
How do you tell a three year old and a two year old about murderous hearts, that brothers aren’t a guarantee?
They cry in their rooms, “LET ME OUT! I’ll be good FOREVER!”
I want to cry. I want to tell them they are the same, the same, the same. They are each more valuable than a plastic sword, and the wounds they inflict through hot tears are hard to heal.
The promises of Forever Goodness fade in a minute and a half. Life’s murder one minute and empty promises the next.
The shouting turns to screams, and I march to the beat of a fist banging on the wall. I feel my own anger rise up as I get closer, and I feel crazy. I
feel like like hitting and screaming. Something small and still pricks the layer of anger that has wrapped my bones, and I hear “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
I stand and breathe, realizing I am guilty too. It’s a daily choice for me, to stop fighting.
I speak softly. Softly, I tell him to stop hitting the house, and softly I discipline, and softly I sit with a crying three year old on my lap. I rub his back and I listen to the tones of his voice, his cry. He stops and looks at me.
We stare at each other for a minute, and I wonder if we both see it. The mother who’s the same as the child, the common thread of wrath that courses through our veins.
I sit and think of all the violence a family can carry and how the world is full of rage and the ground is full of brother’s blood, testifying against us. It seems so hopeless, all this dirt.
Out my window there’s a morning glory, royal purple and climbing up to the sun.
My sons have moved on to dinosaurs, the storm has passed.
I know this is just the beginning, I know hurricane season lasts a lifetime. They will always battle, I will always battle. “The anger of man…“
I want the morning glory and the righteousness of God. I want the sun.
But to get it? Wrath is futile, just more hurt in the ground.
I sit and pray, without words to the One who makes flowers grow out of bloody soil, my last hope, my best hope.
Later, I see all the lightsabers I cling to. All the weapons against hunger, cold, hurt, nakedness…all the plastic swords I protect myself with. The collection of cans, the bank account, the free shipping from Amazon. I watch the stock market tumble, joke with my husband about daily bread and the 120 tortillas I have stockpiled.
I pry my fingers from the childish toys, the stuff I think I need, and I know I want. I tell myself again I don’t want the extra when my brother is crying and grabbing for it. I tell myself it’s time to donate to the starving in Africa, quickly, and it’s amazing what God grows when He has dirt that surrenders…
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