Last night, I cried and prayed myself into a migraine and woke up this morning with tears that had run dry, swollen eyes and a deeply heavy, troubled heart.

The weight of that heaviness bore down around noon yesterday. I literally felt it as it was placed on my shoulders. There was no denying the immediate sense of its darkness and enormity. It held me hostage, drowning me under the weight of its oxygen-sucking, blood-stained hands.

Knowing that I couldn’t bear another day like yesterday, I dropped my boy off at work and headed for the hopeful, healing silence of the night wind in my hair.

I’d like to say that losing myself to the blowing fields of fresh wheat and endless back roads helped re-center my mental space but I’d be, well… I’d not be telling the truth. Cause it didn’t. It only emptied my newly-filled tear reservoir, yet again.

Parenting is hard. When your child hurts, you hurt. You become one with their pain. You feel it as deep, if not deeper than they do because your heart has felt the longer stings of betrayal, disrespect and callousness. Your fire burns with a pure, inward, righteous indignation that shakes violently at the smug coldness of the world and the cruel people that inhabit it.

You want to shelter them, hover over them and their innocence with the snuggliness and security of their once cherished blankie that still lingers in the smell of their first day on earth.

But you can’t. And no matter how many endless backroad miles you drive, no matter the height and width of the winding hills you cling to, no matter the rivers and mountains you swim and climb, no matter the wild tangles in your messy, unbrushed hair, you just can’t.

Your heart grieves for the youth of their simple understanding, yet rejoices in the honor of being their guide as they drive their own roads, cling to their own hills, climb their own mountains and tangle their own hair as they journey through the in-and-out worlds of their personal measures of darkness.

It’s with boldness and joy that you serve them because it’s with you, their peaceful haven of safety and retreat, where they find the true path to healing and acceptance.