What if my heart stopped beating tonight?
This thought floated through my mind as I loaded up the dishwasher before heading to bed.
It seemed to come out of nowhere. But perhaps it was a nudge from God reminding me to take a good look at my life. A good look at my kids.
It was an irrational thought, but I knew that it was someone’s reality. Going to bed and unexpectedly not waking up. Leaving a whole life behind before being ready to. Death causing the lives of loved ones to crumble.
I recounted the day’s events. My mood. My words. My tone. My choices. The rushing. The lack of time. The impatience. The misplaced priorities.
What if my heart did stop beating tonight?
Would my kids remember me looking at their faces or my phone?
Would they remember me being available to them or too busy for them?
Would my kids remember a relaxed bedtime routine or another night where I rushed through those sometimes dreaded bedtime stories?
Would they remember more yelling than encouragement?
Would my kids remember being a priority or would they feel more like an afterthought?
Would they remember me being distracted from them or being still with them?
What if my heart stopped beating tonight? Would they remember my sacrifice or my selfishness? Would they remember my love or my anger? Would they credit me with moving them towards Jesus or causing them to pull away from him?
What if my heart did stop beating tonight? Just what would my kids remember?
The guilt has started to settle in as I’ve considered these questions. And the fear has caused my heart to pump rapidly in anticipation of misfortune. It’s been a rough day. I’ve been angry, distracted, frustrated and quite frankly, tired of being around my kids.
What if? And what would they remember?
Maybe they would remember my failures of today. My lack of interest. My teenage-esque moodiness. But the bad memories of the day would not erase all of the memories of our better days together. Of the bright sunshiny days when they have my attention, when we laugh together, when time stops as they drape their ever-growing bodies all over mine. And I breathe them in instead of blowing them off.
A bad day as a mom does not equal a lifetime of bad memories for my children.
So, what if? What would they remember?
They might remember my anger, but they would also remember my love.
They might remember my hurriedness, but they would also remember our still moments together.
They might remember me looking at my phone, but they would also remember me looking into their eyes while speaking love and truth into them.
They might remember my self-centeredness, but they would also remember the times I’ve sacrificed for them.
They might remember my imperfections, of which there are plenty, but they would also remember that no one is called to be perfect. Because Jesus is perfection for us.
I cannot be certain which moments or days will transform into memories for my children. But I do know that even if today’s events become forever etched into their longterm memory, the loads of good memories will still outweigh the bad.
So, if my heart does by chance stop beating tonight, by the grace of God, my kids will still know love. And if it doesn’t, with His help, I am equipped to make tomorrow better.