Dough is rising and the afternoon is waning. The trees outside are bathed in the buttery soft light of a late fall afternoon.
I took some time this afternoon to go to Panera with the intention of reading some and writing today's post. As I sat in my comfy chair, I observed a family getting situated a few tables away. There were a couple of small children, a grandma, a mom and a dad. The mom was scowling, and at one point I looked up quickly, surprised at the sharp tone I heard her using. I watched her interact with her small daughter, the mother pulled tight as a rubber band about to snap, the girl simply being small and busy. It was painful to watch the tears well in the girls' eyes, and the mother respond with no softness, no understanding.
These scenes give me knots in my stomach. They play out before me in restaurants and grocery stores, in Wal-Mart and Target. I am not bothered by crying or loud and rambunctious children, but my heart hurts desperately when I see a parent react angrily toward their child.
Believe me, I have, sadly, been an ungracious and angry parent. I am not judgmental, just profoundly sad at the hurt our anger as parents causes. The strength of my response comes both from empathy for the child, and for the parent. Oh, have I been there!
I silently prayed for this small family, and went on my way. And later, when I picked up my son from school, I listened long to his detailed explanations about his day. When my daughter came and gave me an unsolicited hug, I held her long and tenderly.
The dough is risen. The light is fading.