This is a hard one for me to write.
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a girlfriend of mine back home in Georgia.
She is pregnant and so mostly our correspondences consist of the joys of pregnancy and every glamorous detail thereof.
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However, this time she asked me if I had heard about the Cobb County, Georgia man who had been arrested for leaving his toddler in the back of a hot car all day, thereby killing the little boy.
Like I said, this is a hard one for me to write and it is, for several reasons: That I am a mother to four very young children is chiefly among them, but also that I am a decent, God-fearing person that places value on human life.
I also happen to be from Cobb County, Georgia, where the horrible incident occurred. So this hits close to home for me, both literally and figuratively.
I’ve really prayed about the appropriate way to handle this topic, or if I should even handle it at all.
Ultimately, I think I am being led to write about it. To, in some way, hopefully show some of the grace that God has shown each one of us.
Because initially I thought I was going to write a piece lampooning the parents of this poor baby boy. Curse them to seven kinds of hell and shout how the only justice to be had would be to kill them in the same way they killed their son.
Then, God quietly reminded that vengeance would be His, not mine. (Deuteronomy 32:35)
Then I thought I might write about all the lives touched by this story, but when something like this occurs in a community, the ripples reverberate long after the sensationalism of the story ends.
Simply put, there is no way to tally the number of people impacted by this tragedy.
I even thought of taking a completely different course and using this heartbreaking story as a springboard for a list of safety dos and don’ts for parents of young children, but I decided something of this gravity deserved more than a little nod at the beginning of a kind of summertime PSA.
So the more I prayed about it and tried to figure out how to approach this incredibly delicate topic, the more I kept seeing a theme.
I kept jumping from topic to topic because I was distracted and was afraid of tackling something so real.
A man who was so distracted that he ‘forgot’ his son was in the car.
A nation that is so distracted that we think ‘I just forgot’ is a plausible excuse for a man who, intentionally or not, killed his son.
Why have we allowed ourselves to become so distracted?
When did the company of our own thoughts become something we needed to escape?
Is the course of everyday living so tough?
Next time you’re in a public place, look around. Notice all of the people near you.
We constantly bury our faces in our smart phones.
We listen to our music in the car or in our house or on the treadmill.
We have hundreds of cable or satellite channels to choose from so that we will never get bored by having to watch the same thing.
Because of today’s technology, we are never ‘unplugged’ and so there is very little time for contemplation or consideration.
There are literally hundreds of distractions we encounter every day, from work to Internet surfing to bills to television – the list is endless.
And as legitimate as some of these distractions are, when we are consumed by them, our opportunity for self-reflection dissipates; our ability to genuinely connect with those around us falters.
We find ourselves in an increasingly autonomous existence and it is when we become so self-directed, that tragedies like the one in Georgia happen.
We were created to show God’s love to one another. In that love is the responsibility to hold one another accountable for our actions; to encourage each other and to support one another.
Who will fill these shoes if we’re all too distracted?
I really hope this message reaches at least a couple people who need a reality check because nothing is more important than becoming the person you were meant to be; than living your life in the here and now.
I guarantee savoring your time on earth is far more important than any of the distractions you have going on right now.
it is when we become so self-directed, that tragedies like the one in Georgia happen.