10.17.2013

On Elevators and Evil Minions and the Gospel

I.
A couple weeks ago I read an article in the New York Times about violence in public housing elevators. The stories were horrifying, the kind that make you wonder how people can be so laced with evil. Rather than being a simple means of transporting yourself and your grocery bags up to the eighth (or eighteenth) floor, elevators become traps in which vicious acts of violence may be committed, uninterrupted.

II.
Let me tell you a secret. In our family, elevators are tiny moving dance parties. The second the door closes, we boogie. Assuming, that is, that we're the only ones on the lift. When we reach our floor, we stand up straight and pretend that nothing happened.

III.
A couple weeks ago I took Juliette to see Despicable Me 2. I had loved the first one, which is a beautiful redemption story. This one not only frightened Juliette; it seemed to deeply trouble her. (Spoiler alert.) In the movie, the lovable, hilarious yellow minions are kidnapped and injected with a chemical compound that turns them into murderous, evil purple minions. These chemically modified minions were scary, though surely not the scariest thing my daughter has ever seen on a screen. But she could hardly bear to look, and ended up watching the rest of the movie on my lap, eyes intermittently covered. Even after the minions were restored to gold and grace, Juliette was rattled. On the way home she asked me if people would really do that. She struggled to find the words to express her concern. She knew it wasn't real, but was it real?

IV.
BBC News - Syria Chemical Attack: What We Know

V.
When Juliette was a toddler, I experienced overwhelming anxiety. I was devastated by my inability to guarantee her safety, and tortured by thoughts of all of the terrible things that, while unlikely, could happen to her. At the same time, I knew that I was supposed to be making her feel safe. I knew that a sense of security was key to her healthy development. So I did everything I could to make her feel safe, even though it sometimes felt like lying. Or, at the very least, withholding the truth.

VI.
Our daughters are blessedly ignorant of so much. And now I don't care if I'm withholding truth; I just want to cling to that innocence. I want them to dance in elevators and believe that bad guys only exist in animated movies. And if they must know that evil exists, I want them to believe that good always triumphs over it.

VII.
It is in moments like this - no, it is in a world like this - that I am desperately in need of the good news of Jesus Christ. Not just for me and my children, but for all children, for all of us who walk in the dark, desperate for a light.

Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?


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