Sunday, March 6, 2016
Isn’t it odd how we learn big lessons from those we least expect it? It happens to me all the time with my younger son Dylan. Besides driving me insane and growing me gray hair, he always manages to teach me something…usually something pretty valuable and profound.
These last few weeks have been no exception.
If you don’t know Dylan well, you’d think he is this really quiet, sedate, mostly well-behaved 10 year old boy. Other than the fact that he is really 10, the rest is very far from the truth. When he is comfortable, his personality comes out with a bang! Like fireworks, the minute he walks into a room everything explodes in the most colorful and unexpected of ways. He is opinionated and demanding. He is always right and he is not very good at sharing, but excellent at taking away other people’s things (mainly his brother’s stuff). He plays with the truth and he is a huge drama king. He is an overall really poor listener. He can’t control his tongue. However, he is extremely controlling. (I swear I’m not describing myself here…this is Dylan I’m talking about).
Actually, we have often considered he’d make a good dictator of a small country someday.
Needless to say, such enthusiasm causes problems. Therefore, it needs to be re-directed.
In order to help him make better decisions, we devised a chart at home not unlike those used in elementary school classrooms all over the country. Along with the chart, we also created a list of offenses. The way it works is that every time he does one of the things in the list, the cloth pin moves up one level on the chart until it gets to the top which means he loses a privilege.
Anyway, once we created this tool, we proceeded to talk to Dylan about it. As it was expected, he did not like it one bit, but he accepted it since he had no choice. One of the things we told him was that his life was going to change for the better if he learned to go by the socially accepted rules of basic human interaction.
A while later, he came to my desk and said something like: “Mama, I’m afraid how my life is going to change.”
I realized the depth of my young son’s statement while considering my own life. There have been several challenges over the years that have caused my life to change and I have not liked it…I haven’t liked it one bit. Through life-altering experiences such as marriage, moving to a whole other country, infertility, loneliness, motherhood, tragedy, loss, illness, among others not just my surroundings but my entire identity has been and continues to be transformed. This transformative process, however, has not been smooth.
I have fought it. I have resisted it. I have rejected it every step of the way. I have wrestled through it all…and I have always felt as if I have lost each and every one of those battles. Our first years of marriage were a huge struggle. Moving was earth shattering. Infertility was devastating, but motherhood hasn’t been a walk in the park either. Tragedy, loss and illness have shifted much of my pre-conceived paradigms. And I have been lost in all the changes.
Today, however, as I witness the concern that the prospect of change brings to my son’s heart, I can’t help but wonder how his struggle is a mini version of the struggles that life brings to us all. As the parent, I know that the change that is about to come to Dylan’s life is all for good. I know that the paradigm shift is the only way for his life to improve. I know that the loss of certain things that he used to count on as constant is the best way to help him move toward a better path. I know that even though there might be struggle, resistance and rejection on his part, this is the best road for him to be on…but he doesn’t know any of that…and even if I tell him so…he can’t truly comprehend it until time has passed and experience has taught him otherwise.
I looked my son in the eyes and said: “I know, change is scary, but often change is good, and I promise you this changes are going to make your life different, yes, but better…trust me.”
I said these words to him inspired by the many promises Our Heavenly Father makes to us all over Scripture. I was inspired by the many promises that even though are true, I doubt. I was inspired by the many times He tells me to be still and let Him be God…and I wrestle Him. I said them inspired by the many times He tells me to not be afraid…and I fear.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17: 7-8
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43: 2
It still remains to be seen whether the changes will bring about a different Dylan, but in the meantime…I’m going to trust that Our Heavenly Father is guiding us all and that His plans are perfect, meant only to bring us a future and hope!