Parenting. I should just stop right there. If you have kids of any age, you know exactly what I’m going to say next. It’s exhausting. And often times, complex and perplexing. Sometimes I long for the days of Dr. Spock, when there was one way to rear your kids, but then I remember there actually is one way and it’s called the Bible. And then I also recall I threw away all the baby and parenting books I once owned when I realized my kids didn’t fit into that mold. Or maybe I didn’t. Whichever. So, now that I’m completely off topic and you’re reminded of just how hard raising people can be, let’s talk about one of the most exhausting areas of parenting: teaching your kids how to be sorry for what they have done wrong. Instead of, well, not sorry.
I was in my late 20s when it began. A 24-hour illness that came around every few months or so. Sore throat, mild fever, headache, felt like a truck ran me over and left me for dead. You know, the usual fare. And my entire body hurt to the touch. Like my nerves were all at the surface of my skin and completely on fire. A solid 24 hours every few months for several years and then it stopped. I never really thought much about it after that. Until I spent a week at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in my late 30s.
The Grand Canyon. It’s vast. It’s beautiful. It’s colors change as shadows shift on the landscape. It draws you in and makes you want more – to explore it’s depths and heights – to allow your heart and your mind to dive into it’s majesty. And then, like the needle scratching its way across the entire record, my child screamed for the 691st time in the short 2 days we’d been in the State of Arizona that he wanted to go home. As in home, home, like 1500 miles away home. The home we left just the day before on a 3 hour flight and 5 hour drive to get here. The same home he’s been demanding to drive back to since we rented the Dodge minivan at the airport. His home.
Dear Teachers and Administrators at our Son’s School,
Thank you for loving our son. Thank you for believing in him. For seeing the joy in his spirit and the potential in his little body. Thank you for working with him day in and day out to help him do his best in reading and writing and everything else. Thank you for helping him cut and paste and sequence pictures and make friends. Thank you for plodding along with him through endless math worksheets at the end of the day when he is most tired and most uninterested. Thank you. We have found respite in you. That may seem like a strange thing to say, but that is exactly what you’ve offered us each school day since September. A place where we know Zeke is happy and thriving. And time away from the more difficult aspects of Zeke’s disabilities. Aspects you never see, but are very real and very hard each and every day.
Some things are so complicated we feel like we would rather turn on our heels and run in the opposite direction than even attempt to dive in and digest them. Some issues have decades, in fact centuries, of wrong-doing and wrong-thinking attached to them, and so it seems impossible to separate fact from fallacy or truth from lies. Some things have roots so deep into the pits of sin and have wounded so many image bearers of God that we cannot even begin to understand them, much less figure out how to help those left in their wakes. Such things as racism or any other form of discrimination found in our broken world.