Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Only the red weeds were illuminated by the sun...

Back in the spring, I read a book called, “The Company You Keep, the Transforming Power of Male Friendship” by David Bentall.

(It is about males being friends with each other, not about how a woman’s life is transformed if she has male friends. In case you were wondering.)

I chose to read it because David and my boss, Carson are close friends. And this book is about their friendship.

Oh my goodness, I was so not prepared for the feelings of envy this book created in me.
Not that kind of envy.
It stirred a longing in me for friendships (female ones) at that level of commitment. At one point I set the book down and bawled for an hour. Carson describes a time when he blew it as a parent when dealing with one of his sons. Despite being embarrassed for the way the whole incident blew up, (and explode it did) he called his friends for help. (There is a third friend in this book as well.) They came over and listened, then prayed. And both friends connected with the angry son to offer counsel and encouragement.

The line that got me was, “what a gift to have someone who loved our son almost as much as we did, be willing to take the time to talk with him during a crisis.”

At the end of the summer, I attended a birthday party for Brenda (my boss’s wife) and sat next to one of oldest friends. (They'd been friends for 25 years.) She talked about an upcoming trip her and Brenda and 4 other friends will be taking this November.
“Oh, yes. I’ve heard of your spiritual retreats…” I said to her.
“Yeah, they’re pretty special,” she agreed.
“How could they not be… Palm Springs is an awesome place to be in the fall.”
She talked about all the fun things they do. But then stopped and looked me in the eye and said, “But our prayer time is the most meaningful. Our best memories are from the times when we pray for each other. In fact we’ve made a covenant with each other – to pray for each other’s children every day, all year. It takes about an hour to get through them all – but let me tell you… we have seen amazing, really amazing things happen in the lives of our kids.”

I am not jealous of things. I do not pine for a new car, a bigger house, diamond jewellery or a new wardrobe.
But I turned green inside listening to her talk about her promise to pray for her friends’ children.

On Sept 15 the poop hit the fan in my house.
An act of defiance of epic proportions was shoved in my face and I was incapable of handling it.
I ran out of the house sobbing and escaped to the familiar interior of my truck. As I headed east, this horrid waling sound of desperation escaped my lips and filled the Durango. I released it all and it scared me. I have never made noises like that before. I’ve never heard sounds like that before.
I drove around for a few hours until my brain re-engaged and reminded me of the price of gas. I came back home when I had a tiny grip on my emotions. I am a mom. With responsibilities.
Not a drama queen.
So I entered the house with burning, puffy eyes and a sore throat.
I did homework, made lunches, cleaned the worst of the mess in the kitchen, then prayed with the kids who were still talking to me.

The whole time, though, the words of David’s book, and the conversation I had with Brenda's friend, were badgering my brain.
I needed help. Someone to listen to me, but not judge. Someone to care for us, but not try to fix us. Someone who would pray with us, but not preach at us.
Mostly, I longed for someone to love my imperfect kids as much as I do, and stand alongside us during this crisis.

I didn’t have that, so I did the next best thing; I prayed for wisdom then I read the riot act. “From now on, you will blah blah blah and you will not blah blah blah. These are the rules in this house. Obey. Or leave.”

The next day we had 34 youth stay with us at the cabin.
On Sunday we had 50 folks join us for the afternoon.

By Monday night, 72 hours after “the incident”, I had had 5 separate conversations that were NOT about me and my troubles.
“So, I said, this is enough. From now on, you will respect the rules of this home…”
“And we told him, no more. This will not happen again. It is unacceptable…”
“I was at the end of my patience. No more Mrs. Nice guy; I told her…”
“We are finding the transition particularly difficult this year… had to lay down some rules…”

Mostly I have friends with perfect children.
(Mostly I have relatives with imperfect children. So it must be a genetic thing.)

But last weekend, when I needed to hear it most, I heard about the struggles other adults were having with their kids. It did my heart good.
I’m not saying I rejoice when others have troubles. But I guess I am rejoicing when others have troubles. How twisted is that?
But, misery loves company… and I was miserable. I needed to feel ‘not so alone’. And even though I handled my dilemma by myself, (well, not totally by myself, my mom listened to me moan and rant on the phone for an hour…) there’s something validating, knowing that other parents, in similar situations, are doing the exact same thing.

So, if in the last few weeks, things have not been smooth in your house - take comfort in knowing there are alot of us who were going through the exact same thing. If you were at your wits end - you were in good company. If you'd had enough and laid down the law... so did a number of others.

Be of good cheer.
There are alot of teens out there just like yours.
No, yours is not worse.
And yes, they are still lovable.
Maybe not this minute, but soon.

Hang in there.

Three things I’m thankful for:
1. Another fantastic Sunday. After church we (me and my boys) went to the Flea Market. Just to hang. Then, in the evening, we went to the Lance Odegard CD Release Concert in Abbotsford. All four of us. Sitting in a row. Chilling. Laughing. Appreciating a non-rock n roll concert. Connecting with ol friends from Fraser Heights.

2. Clint’s brilliance with photo shop. This evening he efficiently designed a card I needed for work.

3. The three big containers of bubble bath on my tub’s edge. I feel so rich. Three full containers. Each one a different color. Each one a different scent.


Jane said...

I had posted a photo earlier this evening and was spammed three times in less than 5 minutes. So, now, the word verificaiton anti-spam device has been activated. Hope that doesn't deter you from leaving comments...

My Thots said...

Thank you for sharing the real you. I think I'll go buy the book by Bentall. They're all right-it is a good thing to have friends to share with, who love your kids as much as you do. It is also rare to find.
I love your photos!!

Anonymous said...

i cant say that i love your kids as much as you do, but know that there are those who do in fact pray for them, every day.

Christine Lindsay said...

Yup, you're right, other people's kids are just as bad and just as good as yours. It's a small world really. And keep in mind I pray for yours daily too. There's a stretch on the road before I turn onto Glover (by that infamouse greenhouse) where I pray for you and yours. :)

Anonymous said...

I do love your kids as much as you do, because they're part of you and I love you with all my heart because you are part of me.