i am writing to you from my kitchen. i am writing to you on the heels of an early morning bible study where a mom, one of my own heart, followed me to my car with tears in her eyes to tell me that i'm a good mom. i couldn't accept her words. i had to deflect. i write to you with trembling hands perhaps from too much caffeine or perhaps because i feel so compelled that what i have to say is sacred truth that i feel unworthy to deliver the text. or perhaps due to both. i write to you as a broken, flawed, hopelessly selfish daughter of a brilliant, trustworthy, perfect creator. wondering how can the perfect creator fashion such broken vessels.
here is what i've been stewing on since the wee hours of the morning when i read my soul sister's blog post about her wee boy. what if we as parents, friends, daughters, members of society in general missed the mark? what if we see things so skewed that we don't really see at all? as i type now, my heart is crying, "lord, give me eyes to see."
the impetus for this tangent began when i read this, a friend's boy kicked and hit his teacher. at first blush most of us would feel what my friend did, shock. without knowing this child and his start in this world, you may judge the mom and say, "get your child under control". but what you would miss is that this child's tenacious lashing out is what actually quite literally saved his life once upon a time.
you see this boy was born in china, with a cleft palate. his deformity so great in the eyes of his biological mother and father, that he was left on the side of the road. to die. alone. let that sink in.
my precious friend adopted this baby who was left to die. his strength and will, that same tenacity my friend parents albeit with much grace and admitting frustration, is what the creator had for him. built into him so that this boy would survive when he was abandoned as a baby. what the evil one meant for ill, the creator used for good. and 4 years later that same tenacity and will is what is getting his mother called into meetings to discuss possible behavior plans.
here's the thing. i am not condoning this child's hitting. and certainly his mother is not, but what if we as a society stepped back from all this behavior modifying and thought with our god-given higher order thinking skills. instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, how about we think about the baby and how the baby is more important.
i think about in my own home. i have a stoic, argumentative child who sees things in black and white. there is no margin for error. and he gets on my ever loving nerves. this morning i thought about his personality and how much i would like to change it. but then i wondered, what if what i perceive as his weaknesses are really his strengths? what if i am so busy trying to fashion him into what society says is happy, successful and promising that i miss the opportunity to enjoy him for who he was made to be?
now let me remind you that 1) i know we are inherently flawed 2) i am not condoning letting people get away with being jerks.
i guess what i am trying to convey is, instead of walking around judging and prescribing quick fix remedies that will make us all nice and safe, why don't we calm the heck down. take a minute to think and enjoy and question. are what we perceive as weaknesses maybe really strengths and what we perceive as strengths maybe weaknesses?
i give the example of another one of my children. he's warm, helpful, always gets paid loads of compliments by the way he interacts with little children and adults alike. his personality is sunny. he's the one who notices when i get a new outfit. forget about half full, his glass is always overflowing regardless of the situation. he is a model kid at home and abroad. my friends always are shocked when they ask, "which of your children are you most concerned about" and i give his name. on the outside, he's damn near perfect. which makes me wonder, what is going on in his deep dark parts? will all this catch up with him? and what was once seen as his strengths be his demise?
today as i go about my day, i am setting an intention. to not be so quick to scold. instead of crying, "dear god, change them." to cry out, "dear god, give me eyes to see."
"to see what?" you might ask. to see truth. to see beauty. to see the boy who walks in the door at the end of the day with a surly attitude as a boy who needs, nay, deserves my love lavished on him as much as the boy who runs back in to give me a hug before he sets off for the day.
and i hope that you too will have eyes to see all of the love and beauty and brokenness and possibility in those with whom you surround yourselves. the friends and the foe, the neighbors and the co-workers. the children and the parents. if we all could just have eyes to see, wonder how much would be revealed and how much good would we see and how much change would come?
yours in word and deed,