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There may even be notes and pictures to prove it

Sunday, August 13, 2017

What would I tell my son about love?  I guess first I'd make it very clear that I've been trying to figure it out for decades - and for decades the perfect answer has run the other direction.  But I would tell him that in chasing that answer, I've found some pretty good examples of what I think love should look like.  What I think it should feel like, and mostly, what I know it shouldn't. 

This has nothing to do with anything other than me feeling the pressure of being a fire-wife.  Last week Fireman Dave worked 136 hours, the week before that was similar - I'm actually too tired to remember - and he's working a straight 72 right now.  Which means that I am, too.  What I'm trying to point out is that nothing exciting, eventful or scary happens when he is at home.  The general rule of fire-wifery is that everything should break, burn, or explode only while the fireman is on shift. 

Here's my story. 

I woke up last night to the sounds of anger and sadness and frustration - all rolled into one teenage boy who didn't know how to best handle whatever was happening on the phone with his girlfriend at the time.  Actually what I heard was hitting and yelling and I immediately thought the brothers were killing each other and should I or should I not risk life and limb to go check it out.  ......  I ended up going to check it out.  What I saw was a kid trying to navigate an adult-like relationship while only equipped with adolescent emotions. 

And this wasn't the first time.  It seems there's always something to apologize for, to ask forgiveness for, to make up for.  There always has to be contact, permission, check ins and notifications.  And there has to be constant togetherness - in person or on the phone.  Even if that means the phone just stays on all night while they sleep miles apart in their separate houses. 

Maybe its the girl's fault.  Maybe not.  As much as I would like to blame her for all the drama, we all know there aren't too many lone character soap operas on TV......  One person creates the drama, the other has to allow it - it really doesn't matter who did what or in what order once it becomes a regular part of the deal.  And its a regular part of the deal.

So as I tried to go back to sleep last night and ended up crying over more things than I started out with, I prayed simply for me to be the mom that my kids need right now.  But I'm not sure I really know what that is.  I think I may text this particular kid later, once we've let some time pass between the loud and the quiet.  Here's what I'm thinking it might say.

Love doesn't have to hurt.  In fact, love shouldn't hurt.  Most of the time, anyway - but on occasion it might.  But know that when we feel pain and claim it in the name of love,.... it should be for the sake of the one you love, not for the sake of trying to make a relationship something it was never supposed to be.  I think that when we feel sadness in love, for it to actually fit into the love category it has to be because we want so badly for what is good for the other person that maybe it hurts us to step away and let the right things happen.  I'm positive I've cried my fair share over some mixed up emotions in this general area.  Maybe I should say arena.  Because arenas are huge and areas can be small.  My heart aches and heart breaks fall into arena size.  There may even be notes and pictures to prove it. 

But when a relationship brings constant stress, worry and doubt; when it makes us feel afraid of another person for any reason - or even afraid of ourselves and what we become when we're too close to see what's really happening - that's not love.  It's something - and I know you feel it is more real than anything else you can think of at the time. But its not love. 

When you're in constant fear of losing someone over just about anything, when you're in such doubt over the strength of your relationship that you have to remind each other through words and time and desperate pleas and promises, that's not love. It's something - and I know you feel it is more real than anything else you can think of at the time. But its not love.

So here is a pretty good test to see if what you feel is really sent as a gift to you.  Is it a love that God planned for you?  Or is it something else?  Insert your girlfriend's name in these statements .... does it sound true?


......        is patient

.....        is kind

.....        does not envy

.....        does not boast

.....        is not proud

 .....       does not dishonor others

.....        is not self-seeking

.....        is not easily angered

.....        keeps no record of wrongs

.....        does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

.....        always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres


I also want you to know that I'm not fighting against you in this relationship, and even though you can't believe it now - I'm fighting for you in this relationship.  I want you to have and experience these young relationships, because they are teaching you how to navigate the bigger ones yet to come.  But I want you to experience them in an age appropriate way.  Which to you right now sounds like the words, blah, blah, blah,... my mom is mean and crazy. 

But I think more than anything, your dad and I want you to work out whatever is going on to the best of your ability.  And when your ability runs out, we're here to listen.  We can't fix this, but we can help you try to figure out how. 

Y'all, I know this isn't my best work in this post.  But its accurate and truthful and it serves as a good reminder for me of all that I went through in my younger years trying to figure out the age old questions of love.  And maybe that's why its so hard to see my own kids try to learn those same difficult lessons.  If only I could tell them all my mistakes, sometimes I think.  But they're not at the age of understanding.  They're just reaching the age of trying things out for themselves.  Me too, said a younger Kristi.  If I could just tell them to look over here or over there or take a few steps back or away to see what I see now..... but I know they can't.  

So last night I prayed, as I always do.  And I asked a friend that I knew has the the power of prayer in her to pray in that moment over the events of the night.  Because I wasn't sure how I was going to.  And I am asking you to pray for this, too, wherever you are.  How ever often, how ever long or short.  I ask that you pray for my son that his eyes be opened to possibility and promise that he can't even begin to imagine.  And I ask you to pray for the young lady involved, prayers of the same. 

And I ask that since you're already there and in it... go ahead and ask God to work in the lives of young people as they are trying their best to grow up in such a different kind of time.

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