Friday, March 21st, 2014 – The Third Friday in Lent
I’m going to share with you one of my not-so-very-proud parenting moments. You know the ones. When you hear yourself saying things you can’t believe. In a voice you don’t recognize.
My teenage son was acting like, well, a teenager. Sullen. Uncooperative. Not doing what I asked him to do right when I asked him to do it. I can’t even remember now what the trigger was. But I knew I had had it. THAT’S IT, a voice screamed inside my head.
First came the lecturing voice. No reaction. Then came three words, like barbs. Meant to hurt. Meant to get a reaction. Spoiled. Rotten. Jerk.
My son didn’t say anything. He just walked upstairs to his room. As he turned, the regret had already started to kick in. How could I have reacted like that? How could I have been so…mean?
I lectured myself for a little while before following him upstairs to apologize. I had read enough parenting books. I knew losing my cool was counter-productive. And I did it anyway. This was one of those moments when knowing the right thing and doing the right thing were, well, two very different things. In the moment, there was a gulf, a chasm, a deep divide separating them. And I couldn’t take it back.
Ashamed and regretful, I entered his room. He was lying on his bed staring at the ceiling. In one corner of the room, he had piled nearly every earthly possession. His Lego architecture sets, his rock collection, his books, even his blanket and pillow. I asked him why, and he told me I could take it all and give it away. He didn’t need any of it.
Then I noticed a few items left on his nightstand. His lamp was gone, somewhere in the pile. But there on the nightstand was his Bible. He said he wanted to keep it.
Keep it? Of course you can keep it. My heart swelled.
The faith we had lovingly nurtured was the eye at the center of this storm. We can do without all of the other clutter, the noise, the stuff that gets in the way of our seeing what’s really important.
Faith, for me, is a decision. I don’t have faith like I have blond hair. Something I was born with. I don’t have faith like I have an iPhone. Something I can trade in as soon as a newer, better model comes out. I have faith like I have a family. Something I helped create. Something I work at. Something I make time for. Something I sometimes get wrong — and I care enough about to try to get right.
– Lisa Kerpan, Wife, Mother, Work-in-Progress