When I told him it’s about self-control, saying “no” to yourself…his lips pursed and his eyes stayed on the floor. Pleadingly, anger just under the buckling cellar door, I say: “You feel like screaming and hitting me, but it’s not okay to do those things. Do you understand?”
Chin out and trembling, he looks up, shouts: Yes!! But I just keep forgetting! You think it’s easy, but it’s not easy for me!!
This one, this 7-year-old kid, knows how to speak the truth.
Another day, another exasperated moment, I ask: Do you believe you can trust God to help you with this?
He says: I can’t trust anyone.
What about Daddy and me? Do you trust us?
No, because sometimes you say you’re gonna do something and you don’t. Daddy said he would wrestle with us, and then he didn’t.
Yes, it’s true, even we who love you most will let you down. But He will not. Remember what we’ve learned: He is a faithful God, keeping His covenant of Love to a thousand generations…
I know. But I just can’t. I’m just stupid.
No. You are anything but stupid.
I’m stupid. Just say it. I’m stupid.
And this is when I realize I am sitting across the table from myself. This is the conversation I’ve had with myself a million times.
And what can I give that will provide a sure grip for the falling child to grab onto?
It can’t be only me & my love, because he & I both know I’m not a sure thing--he’s fully aware that I break sometimes. I have wielded words like weapons. I’ve said “yes” to my urge to demand and throw tantrums. He knows it, I know it – so my embracing him, my embracing myself (positive thinking, “loving myself”) – we both know it’s not enough.
It must be something solid and ancient, something deeply reliable.
Something that has real power to save us from ourselves over and over again every day.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is GOD. He is a faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands...
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…
Yes, that’s a start, hope…
Across from my child/myself at the table, I’m still exasperated. I do not feel like loving this person who has disrupted my plan for a tranquil day (ahem – hello, Self, nice to confront you.).
But it’s about self-control, saying “no” to myself, yes to something more lovely than myself. Gorgeous, actually – peace & beauty-birthing. And since I’ve just exhorted him to such things, I find myself with accountability…
Can I pray with you?
Shuwah (translated: Sure), he says without conviction, mouth twisted into a “it’s-not-gonna-help-but-go-ahead” posture.
And I pray for us both, for a miracle. Because peace at this point will be a miracle in both of us. And while I pray, my hand is on his cheek, and I glance up to witness a softening…sadness, remorse…release of anger. And when we say Amen, let it be so, we are humans changed. Ready to give life another go.
Most likely, tomorrow, the scene will play again. And again we will be saved.