Friday, June 27, 2008

Why Can't I Just Pay Attention?

Yesterday was the "end-of-the-year" pool party for one of the homeschool groups we belong to. Oh how my 8-year-old relishes the pool party. I remember being a child and feeling the same way. I could have lived in a pool, had God only given a protective outer coating to thwart the effects of chlorine on my skin. I loved to swim, to float, to feel that wonderful freedom you can only get by being totally weightless and submerged in water. It was amazing. My offspring have all inherited this love for the water. They have also inherited the itchy, dry skin, so we take many a precaution to ensure the outcome of our adventures are happy ones. I have thought often of investing in Gold Bond and Spectrum Fish Oil . Good stuff.

Of course, the excitement of the day to come was a little too overwhelming for him. The day began with him awakening well before my alarm went off to "let me know" that if we don't get up soon we "might be late". For a party that was slated for 10 to 3-ish. "Yes, my alarm is already set. Since you are up why don't you get yourself some breakfast," was my reply. Off he went and I snuggled back in with the rest of my sleeping brood: my sweet petite little flower and her handsome Daddy. It was about 9:30 am.

My alarm went off at 10 and I pushed the snooze button at least 3 times before I saw my Wobbers again. In he came at 10:30, out of breath, "Mom, I can't find my swim suit. I tore my room apart." "Did you have breakfast?" I asked. "No, but Mom!!- I can't find my swim suit." Oh the horror! Whatever will we do? How could I not see the utter woe of this situation. Why, of why, did I not understand the impending doom and why wasn't I hustling up to do something?

I informed him that he'd better go have breakfast since I told him over an hour ago that he needed to eat. He ran out of my room again.

In a flash, he was back, hands ice-cold from handling the glass, half-gallon milk jug required for him to have cereal. He placed said frozen appendage on my arm, startling me into consciousness and said, "Get up." Excuse me mister, are you the son I have raised for the last 8 years? The precious child I carried in my womb for 9 months? Do you really believe that I should follow your directions? Have you been living in the same house your father and I live in? How dare you, you little....!!!! While I would have liked to yell something along those lines in the most angry voice I could muster (come on, wouldn't you feel the same way, all warm and snuggly and sleepy being woken up that way?), what I actually said was, in the most restrained but firm tone I could muster, "Excuse me. You are not in charge. I will get up when I get up. Go and find your swimsuit and wait for me to get up and get myself and the baby ready. Or we can stay home, if you'd rather. You do not get to tell me what to do." At this point my dear husband rolled over and gave him a look - to which he responded to by promptly saying, "Yes, Mom," following my orders.

It continued like this for the rest of the morning. I will spare you the details, but just play those last few paragraphs over and over again for every other thing that needed to get done before we left: unloading the dishwasher, feeding myself and the baby, finding the suit (we never did...subbed a pair of shorts after much crying), finding an "it will do" combination for me to wear swimming, packing the bag with snacks, pool toys, and towels, convincing my little one she wanted to wear a swim diaper and her suit at the same time, and moving all said items and children to the car.

The arguments of what I was asking to be done, and how he thought they should have been done ensued throughout. I thought of threatening the inevitable, "Then we can just stay home." But, I wanted to go. I wanted to see the other moms that I haven't talked to in a month. I wanted to relax by the poolside. I wanted to socialize and snack and watch the kids play. I had to think of some other punishment. So I enacted an earlier bedtime and took away "playtime with dad", which is the PS3, for a few days.

On the way to the party, I explained to him his punishment. He understood, and even tried to put on the guilt by saying he probably wouldn't have any fun today anyway. Again, we can just go home crossed my mind, but I still wanted to go.

I had a "talk" with him. I told him not to reply - that I wasn't telling him anything because I wanted a response, or an excuse, that I just wanted him to listen. I told him he needed to trust me when I told him to do things, that he needed to understand that I had a plan, even if I didn't reveal the whole plan to him right away - just because he was getting one direction at a time didn't mean I had forgotten about him or the end result of what was going to happen. I reminded him that I know he thinks he can do it better than me, but I knew what was best for him. I explained that I loved him very much and had only the best intentions for him and our family. I told him how his ability to trust me and be obedient would make life much easier. I told him to always remember how much I loved him and how I would always lead him in the right direction, even if he didn't always agree with the path or plan I set before him.

As I finished my proclamation, I could not help but hear His words to me. I looked up into the heavens and with a resounding revelation I answered, "I know." For all He wants from us is trust and obedience. If we would just trust in His plan for us, if I would just trust that He has a plan for me, that He knows exactly where it will lead to even when I don't - life would be much simpler. If I could only understand that He knows the way, that my way isn't always right, and certainly isn't better. If I could see through the frustration and sorrow that sometimes seems to overwhelm me in life and look past it to the full plan He has set for me, that He knew even before I was born - oh how much pain and disappointment I could avoid. "In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will,"*. Why do I fight it so much?

Me and my boy, not so very different are we. Both of us thinking we have a better answer, a better plan, a better way. Not realizing the plan has already been set, already been played out. Not trusting in the One who is "The way and the truth and the life"**. Didn't He already tell us, "I am the light of the world. Whoever walks with me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."*** Why do I try to reason my way when His way is far superior and more glorious than anything I could ever imagine?

I guess I will always be child in His eyes. And I am glad for it. As a child, I can still grow, still learn, and everyday reinvest in the trust that will bring me to The Truth.

*Ephesians 1:11
**John 14:6
***John 8:12


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