I've never shot a gun. Never liked the sound of them, never liked the threat of force, the very idea that the point of the thing was to steal away a life. But sometimes a mom has to take aim at the things that creep in to destroy and devour her vision of family. At every stage of their growth, these boys that turn so suddenly to men, new threats pop-up to which we turn, petrified, and fire. Eat or be eaten. How good can that other option be?
When I determined my lenten fast would be to become more like Jesus by taking-up my three boys, to let my days be less of me and more of them, I made commitments to each of them: walking to school every day with one, taking another to lunch each week, and writing another a letter each day -- 40 letters over Lent, over 53,000 words that felt like a million. This barrage of words was my attempt to reduce the distractions, to focus on the moving-forward story, to put a hedge of hope around the growing one. The shotgun effect promises that at least some of these words could possibly, hopefully, hit the adolescent heart. And in this resurrection season, it means that the kingdom has a chance.
Today he wrote back. And he wanted me to share.
Today I sat down on the bed in the office, laptop resting on my lap, reading through some of the things you’ve posted before I get to my work. And I’m just reading. Reading the stories of the things you went through as a youth. The times to laugh and the times to endure the hardships of life. The life lessons. All of it. Because really, there isn’t anything else that needs to be done except read, understand and absorb.
I know you wanted to do this for me. You heard what I’ve been saying to you for the past little while, and you thought that this would be a good way to communicate to me.
It was, and I’m happy that you put the time into writing these. I knew that I was a messed-up person with a list of flaws that can go around the moon a few times. An adolescent who probably won’t be able to fully comprehend life for the next…I dunno, decade. I don’t really find many ways in which I can love myself for who I am or what I do.
But I just read. I mean, you’re doing this for me, so I don’t want to be rude.
At first, I was resistant to the idea of you taking this much time out of your day to write these for me. I didn’t want you to, because I’ve got two younger siblings that need the attention more than me. And I know that writing is something that sometimes takes you a while. But you said that you were going to do unique things for both of them for Lent as well, so I decided that it was allright after all.
And I just read.
Because you asked me to.
You kept updating your one Facebook post that you began back in March, and in that time racked up likes and comments across the board. People who saw you post the letters were really supportive of what you were hoping to accomplish. Even Grandma posted a comment. That’s how big it got.
And I was just reading.
You either physically sent me an email with the link to the newest post, or I had to go on Facebook or the blog by myself in order to read. Some of them I skimmed through, others I read all the way. Some had embarrassing moments, which I looked at with a smile on my face and closed my laptop to remember how crazy that moment was. Others had stories from your misspent youth, and I have no idea how much you may have spiced them up to make them worth reading. Others were sad moments that you wanted to revisit in order to make a point, and I could tell from the way you wrote them that it pained you to do so.
There was a life lesson in each story, and I knew it. So did I stop reading?
Each letter was something special to absorb. Each letter was something that you knew that I didn’t, and because I’m still only 14, it’s info that I’m going to be learning in the next few years…mostly likely the hard way.
Without realizing it, you created a mother-son moment with each letter. I looked forward to each day’s entry, wondering what else you wanted me to understand. It’s odd that you were able to speak to me more strongly in this way than you would if we were in a one-on-one conversation about the same topic.
I appreciate that you went and decided to do this. Even if it was just for Lent. It was well worth it.
And know that I’m doing my best to listen to every word you have to say.
I’ll keep reading. I promise.
For the record, Hon -- nothing was spiced up. Life is full of spice.