Capri’s face looked so sad as she turned toward the nightlight. I snuggled up close and I “spooned” her from behind. My thoughts drifted to the days when we could take off on our banana bikes early in the morning and not come home until dinner. That is, except for PB&J sandwiches, dimes for the ice cream man, and first aid for bruised knees. When we got thirsty, we drank water from somebody’s garden hose. We built go-carts and stilts and played dodge ball until we were bruised. We got cuts and broken bones and chipped teeth and nobody got sued. We had shoeboxes full of baseball cards and we “flipped”

And “called Larry’s” until the winner took all. The losers rarely cried and parents never got involved in our squabbles. My brothers were always “wiping out” on their friends’ mini-bikes (we weren’t allowed to own one) and we spent endless hours during both summer and winter down at the neighborhood pond. We never caught any diseases there, even though we touched many unnamed slimy things.

        Forty years have passed. A generation. How could our lives have changed so much? My ten year old feels she has had a bad year. And it’s not about a mean classmate or a teacher who gives a lot of homework. She thinks it’s a terrible world because she has felt the personal effects of political turmoil. She is a young American and sadly, she is reminded fairly consistently that there are an awful lot of bad people out there—and now in here—in our own backyard. Her teenaged brother and sister have experienced much of the same, but they are better equipped to articulate their feelings and to sort through “the real vs. the felt” threat to their safety and well being. I petitioned God for guidance and took a deep breath.

     “Capri—I think you’re right. The world has been out of control lately, and really, it’s always been out of control and that’s exactly why Jesus came to this world. He wanted to help us and to give us hope and to remind us that our life on earth is not the end of the line. As a matter of fact, it’s only the beginning.”

     “Mommy, I know Jesus loves us, and I know we’re goin’ to heaven and I know you always say you’ll meet me at the gate; but that’s a long time away for me.”