One night this Spring after supper I let the kids play outside while I cleaned up the kitchen. “You can’t be out long,” I told them, “dark clouds are rolling in.” My weather app predicted severe thunderstorms.
I was loading the dishwasher when, suddenly my youngest screamed and came running to the back door. He sounded scared. I ran to let him in, expecting to see a loose dog chasing him. There was no dog. I opened the door to let him in but he just stood there. I couldn’t tell if he wanted me to come out or if he was worried about his older siblings still out in the yard.
Then, as if he suddenly realized what he must do, he blurted out, “I get my gun.”
He was given a bubble gun for his second birthday. You dip the ring on the muzzle in a shallow dish of bubble solution and when you pull it out and squeeze the trigger it pumps a gentle stream of air through the ring and makes bubbles.
He found his bubble gun and went back out on the deck and announced, “I scare the thunder!”
Yes, yes! Little man, be brave. One day you’ll grow up. You’ll put down your bubble gun. What will you pick up instead?
As I stood there watching him face is fears as best he knew how, I turned introspective. What do I cling to for security and to help me feel brave when disaster threatens? Insurance for health, home, and automobile? Constitutional Rights? The U.S. Dollar? My job? Religion?
Are my fears even legitimate? Is there anything substantial behind the thunderclap threatening my safety, or is it just noise? Can the things I fear really hurt me? And if so, can the things I trust really protect me?
Even as a grown man there’s a part of me that still feels like a lost boy. So I wonder, am I just a two-year-old brandishing a bubble gun at thunderstorms?