No one quite knows where they come from or who they belong to. All anyone knows is that, like clock work, they appear on our planes with their little identification tags once every two weeks or month. Who are they? I call them “children of the air.” They are the remnants of the American dream, an American dream that shattered with a court decree. This is what happens, my friends, when a mommy and daddy decide to part ways.
I know that divorce is not something anyone wants to hear about. We’ve heard it already. Many of us, including myself, have lived through it, and frankly we’re tired of it. How could we not be tired of something that has affected around 50 percent of our country? So we move onto world hunger, soiled politics and wars. At least these problems, we think, stand a chance of being fixed. Yet, as much as I wish to ignore the children I sit by in the plane, I can no longer pretend like I wasn’t one of them. I can no longer hide from the fact that being a child of the air broke me. I can’t ignore the work God has done in my life nor what He so desperately wishes to do in their lives.
This must sound so dramatic, especially to those of you who have survived this experience. I know what you would probably say: “I’m fine. Things could have been worse. I know my parents loved me. There was no other way, so why even think about it?” This is what the children on the planes say. This is what I said. They want so badly to be normal. They want to be like the children in the rows behind them sitting with their parents on either side. Yet, God through my own life has shown me that this dream can only become a reality if we let Him take away the hurt that life tells us we need to ignore.
Admit it. It hurts to be caught in the middle of two feuding families. It hurts to be told, “Don’t use that tone with me. You sound just like your father,” or “Don’t act like that. Do you want to turn into your mother?” No matter how hard I tried not to, I felt like the bad guy. How could I not when every moment or feeling I gave to one side was somehow traitorous toward the other. Saying all that, no one would have ever guessed this was how I felt. Growing up, I would have never spoken of my life this way. It was my life, and I didn’t know any other. By God’s grace, now I do.
When I arrived at college this year, I thought I had it all together. Yes, I suppose that makes me the perfect freshman. To make matters worse, I really did think I knew everything. While I supposed other teenagers my age were trying to “find themselves,” I figured I already knew who I was. Boy was I wrong. In my first class, my professor said something I don’t think I’ll ever forget, “College is the perfect time to let God heal your past.” Before I could stop myself, I thought of my parents’ divorce. Immediately I pushed it to the back of my mind. I’m over it, I thought. God later taught me that healing comes from Him, not from our own determination to be better. I never dealt with my parents divorce. This is the problem I see in America today. Because divorce is so rampant, people don’t deal with it. It hurts to let God heal us. Trust me, I know, but to not let Him heal us is so much worse. We can’t run this race injured. Don’t buy the lie, “I’m okay,” or “It’s not a big deal.” No matter how brave or strong you are, divorce is a big deal, and yes, you can be okay, but why not allow God to make you great? Just surviving was not what He intended, but I’m afraid that “just surviving” is what children of the air are doing.
Children of the air have no control over their circumstances. Honestly, there is very little that can be done for them. My suggestion is to just be kind to them and to pray for them. Pray that God protects them and doesn’t let their hearts harden. I can’t tell you how many college students are impervious to love because their hearts were broken and never healed. If you are like me, then please make sure you’ve let God take away whatever damage was done. Let Him and others love you. If you can do that, then you can no longer call yourself a child of the air. You are solely a child of God. You see, lost love breeds children of the air. It’s God’s love that makes us His children. We must face the fact that the American dream is broken. So let’s live out God’s dream. Let’s make wise choices and try to keep our children from becoming the next generation of children of the air. It’s time.
[Katherine Adair, 18, attends Ouachita Baptist University. Her major is Christian studies and her minor is creative writing.]
READ MORE LIFE | POST COMMENTS BELOW