In the past 10 days my sense of reality has forever been altered. A week from Thursday my son, my baby boy, was arrested. That sent our family into a tailspin. He was home the same day with time served. Still the experience changed the paradigm. Five days later, the son of a friend died unexpectedly. When things like this happen, we are left to question. Instead of asking why, I learned to ask, what am I supposed to take away from this to share with the world.
In both instances the answer was loud and clear. Love. Unconditional love.
I’m going in reverse order of the events because that is how I came to this understanding. There were so many people at the funeral, there weren’t enough seats. My friend and her son are the type of people who you know they cared. Their love was so big, and they gave so much of it, it was easy to reciprocate. He lived his life, although it was short, in a way that said he embraced every moment. This expression of his joie de vivre will make his absence very obvious for a long time. The question came-am I doing the same?
Then I got to thinking about the strange turn of events with my son. Looking back the signs that trouble was pending were apparent. Like the time Charlie snapped at me for telling him that I love him too much. When it happened, Christopher, his older brother shrugged and said, “I guess his love language isn’t words of affection.” Regardless, I persisted in my expression of appreciation for who he was, and he glowered. Until the day he got arrested.
That was the day, I was glad I told him up to three times a day, sometimes even when he was sleeping that I loved him. Because of this, we both knew the homecoming wouldn’t be awkward. He knew that he would be received with open arms. And he was. And within, ten minutes of being with me he said, “I am so glad that happened with something that small. I learned. I NEVER want to go to that place again!” And then he confessed to everything he had done, that he hadn’t been caught for committing and would never do ever again. I learned the lesson of having a silent mouth and open ears. That was a hard one.
Of course there was more for me to learn. More for me to grow. In a moment of vulnerabilty, I cried out to God and asked why. Anybody that knows God, knows he doesn’t answer that question, he tells you the next step you are going to take. And through the tears, I heard him say, “You have to share your dreams with your son.”
My dreams? My dreams are big and exciting and sometimes unsafe. I am the reason why my husband has gray hair. And God smiled and said, “Yes, your dreams.” Up until that moment, I loved Charlie enough to be who I thought I should be, but not share who I really was. It was time for him to see that his mama had a little bit of a wild streak in her too.
For the record, if anyone tells my father I went skydiving with my son I will call you a big tattle tale. Because, when I shared that dream with my son-our world changed. And now that I’ve seen what it’s like. I don’t ever want to go back to what it was.