Friday, September 13, 2013

Small Success Thursday Grace Abounds, Grace Accepted

You knew this would happen right?  I'd get to my intended blog post a day later?

So, what am I grateful for today.  I'm grateful for grace, which pours in every day whether we will it or not, but in greater abundance when we do, and for the amazing power of prayer, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, who orchestrates everything toward our good if we let Him.

Yesterday, I read a story by a writer friend. In it, she bared her soul, sins and all, revealing the deep scars of grave evil done against her during her lifetime.  It took tremendous courage to write, and even more so, to share with a friend she knows only on the Internet.  I wept.  I wept for her and for all those broken lives that intersected, all of that pain that seemed so unnecessary.  But her story helped me recognize how I needed to help one child in particular.

That evening, my son was struggling with what I call setting emotional fires. He goes from sibling to sibling, in sort of a hit and run fashion, upsetting them in whatever they are doing, and then bounding out to another and being exceptionally nice so as to pretend what he did before means nothing.  I went into his room to settle him.  He was reading a piece, "How to Know What is Right and What is Wrong?" for class.  I pointed this irony out to him.  "It's just homework." he said.  I decided since he had taken me from my work and destroyed peace, he should do some of my work while I restored it.  "Go vacuum the floor in the kitchen since I'm not doing that right now." I said.  He refused.  I explained, "This is your consequence for upsetting everyone.  You have damaged the family and taken away time, so you have to give some."  "After my homework."  "Now." "After I read this."  "No. You're going to go live this." and I pointed to the paper.  To his credit, within five minutes, he went down and used the shop vac and the kitchen floor was clean.   But it took a lot of energy to manage.

Today, once again, he was angry.  Today is a mass day at school and everyone has to wear button down shirts. I'd laid out shirts for all of my children, all the clothing they needed to get ready because mass days are harder with the ties and the vests and the like.  He saw that his brother had a short sleeved button down shirt.  He felt outraged.  "That's my shirt!" he screamed.  It used to be.  He started to demand his brother take it off, but I stepped in.  "We don't have time for him to hunt for a new shirt. We need to get ready for school. He's dressed. Let it be."

Well, that was too much. He promised to wreck his brother's room.  He said words that hurt, words that destroy, and it is my great temptation when this sort of thing happens, to fight back word for word.  His hot headedness comes from somewhere, I see it, me.

We've been working on respect.  We've been working on learning that respect matters.  Somehow, the grace came to not explode.  I told him to go upstairs and he could not ride with us to school if he did not apologize.  He tried ratcheting up the ugliness.  He tried going into his brother's room but I got in there and so he went to his own room.  Mercifully, we got everyone else to the car.  He was lurking behind a bush in the front, looking shocked and lost.  My poor lost sheep.  My poor angry son who sometimes acts like a wolf and then finds, he doesn't like where he's driven himself or anyone else.  I go inside to get a diet coke and impulsively left a note on his backpack.  "Dear son, There is no reason to rage.  I love you.  Love, Mom"  Outside, I see him still over staring at the van.

 "Do you want to come?" I asked.  He went inside to get his things.

Mentally I sit there wondering as he wordlessly gets in the car and sits in the far back row, should I have left him? I know he would have raged again at abandonment. We say prayers every day in the car.  Normally, I lead and each kid says one on their own. Today, I'm praying them all.  I don't even ask him to pray it, I just say his prayer, the prayer of Saint Francis as slowly and as deliberately as I can.  We finish with asking our patron saints to pray for us, and I do every one's saints plus a few more and put on classical music afterwards.  The rest of the car is happily chatting.  I am trembling and praying and begging God for my son, for softness, for something.   We get to the school.  "I'm sorry John for calling you ...." and "I'm sorry Mom for..." It's very quiet. It's very soft.  Honestly, joy broke over me like water.  I'd been saying good bye to each of them.   Then I noticed, he forgot his lunch.

So I drive away stunned by the miracle of his apology. Stunned and grateful, but the ego trips in, "I can't believe that worked!" and then I realize, I did nothing. "You're right. You're right. You're right.  I said to God, you did that. It was all you. It was all you. It was all you." and laughed all the way home to pick up his lunch.  Grace abounds.  Cooperating with grace leads to more grace.  Cooperating with grace leads to more grace leads to miracles.   You'd think I'd have learned this by now, but I'm usually running a bit behind on the messages God whispers in every action.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All is grace.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!