Friday, October 6, 2023

Just a little something I wrote...

This is a little something I wrote while we were still living in New Zealand in 2018.  Alex was 17 at the time and I feel like it just gives a glimpse into the very solid soul that he is and the very sloppy job that parenting can be sometimes.  Life is not a point A to point B endeavor, it's paths take us into uncharted territories, up to unbelievable vistas and along many an unmarked trail.  It's been 5 years since I wrote this, but it's just as true today.

She stood at the sink shoulder to shoulder with her son up to her elbows in dish water.  He was trying to help, keeping the mood light and throwing that sharp whit of his around with all the confidence of youth.  She was half listening, half pondering.  This had become a pattern for her, she couldn’t help but turn over and examine carefully the myriad of memories, thoughts and yes, worries that rolled around in her head.  She took another dish from his hands and scrubbed thoughtfully.  How had this boy, her boy, come to be almost grown?  In her mind’s eye she could see him as a happy go lucky 2 year old, loving his train table and constructing with blocks.  She had to stretch to reach the memories of those early days when she actually sat on the floor and played with him, reading him story after story and feeding him endless cheerios.  It was another lifetime, another world and that was just the truth.  She thought about how some families were still living within reach of those early moments of their kids lives.  When they made a pot of coffee in the morning they could look across the kitchen to the same table their now grown children had played playdough on.  But this was not her story.  She had let go of all those things and places, they existed only in her memories and a copious number of photographs.  She was a wanderer.  A gypsy.  What can a gypsy give to her children?

The sound of a question hung in the air and brought her back to the sink and dishes and the tall boy who was no longer a boy standing there.  “Sorry, what did you ask me?”  She knew it sounded lame.  He had been talking about life and how it wasn’t so bad and that his future wasn’t really in jeopardy,... he was a hard worker.  Did she know that he could catch up?  That all the starts and stops of the last few years could be ironed out with hard work?  “Sure, of course I know you’re a hard worker!”  And she did.  It just all looked so very different than she had imagined.  She’d had no choice but to live exposed… heart out there for all to see, no chance to hide the mess away and pretend.  Maybe that was good...maybe it would mean that if a dark night of the soul came for him he would be able to wade through it with courage and hope.  Surely he had seen enough such times throughout the last 7 years.  But what was his take away?  Was he going to apply that black and white leaning brain of his to the murky greys of this life?  Would the inconsistencies and mess make him doubt… push him too far?  She felt it keenly, the mess of their lives, the churn that it had become.  She worried about the toll it exacted from each of them and if in the end it would prove to be too heavy a price.  It was difficult not to feel that if somehow they had held onto those golden, sunny days of life on Suri Trail that all would be well right now...the family would feel intact, safe… far from the edge on which they currently teetered.  Did he remember what it felt like to live in one place for years on end?  To have routines and traditions, the reassuring lullabies of a life at peace…  Why did it bother her so much?  How was it that the loss of the meadowlark’s song in the morning and a little red wagon in the driveway waiting for another adventure could bring her to her knees so easily?  He’s handing her another dish and reassuring her the best he can that is all is well, that New Zealand is such an amazing place to live.  And of course he’s right.  How many women would stand in line to be in her shoes.  Still, it’s not really about a place, is it?  She holds this thought out from her, examining it a bit.  No.  It’s nothing to do with location,   It’s 100% internal.  The heart.  Immediately she knows the truth of it and it resonates deep.  The heart is the well-spring.  It’s either feeding out living water to those gathered at its edges, or it’s gurgling out yuck.  And the truth is suddenly smacking her in the face ugly and bold… she’s been serving up bitterness and anger.  Slapping down the muck of her heart’s contents in front of them all, praying for survival and poisoning them simultaneously.  She drops the dish down into the murky water staring glassy eyed at half hearted soap bubbles and a whole lot of ugly.  She can see it clear now.  There is only one way forward, repent.  Be broken, acknowledge the ugly… don’t pretend… turn it all over to Jesus and ask Him for the impossible.  For a way forward out of the dark into hope.  For a new heart and living water…

He’s still happily chatting...cheery and full of life, doing his best to pull his gloomy mother out of her funk.  She asks if he’ll do a chore for her and he willingly obliges, quoting the Princess Bride at her over his shoulder as he sails out of the kitchen.  She smiles.  He’ll probably never really know how much she loves him and what it feels like at 44 to be broken and messy when the assumption is you’ll have it all together by then.  To be on a crazy journey with your children more than guiding them through while safely on the other side…  But if at the end of the day he knows Who to turn to for the answers, with the brokeness, in spite of the hard while laying down the ugly, then she’ll know he’s gonna be ok.  He will know what it looks like to be vulnerable and real and he won’t take any substitutes… his life will be unwreckable because he’ll know Christ’s love is unstoppable.  He will have seen it firsthand, a front row seat to life lived raw and broken… handed over to the Restorer, never perfect, but held open handed... and hopefully, {please God!} with love.  Because love covers a multitude of sins and heaven knows she needs a whole lot of love to coat this messy life and fill in the gaping holes and pock marks of failure.  She breathes out a prayer, an exhaling of hopes and drains the dish water.

No comments:

Post a Comment