However. With apologies to all the Monty Pythons for shamelessy borrowing their tag-line, above, I turn a sharp corner...
Caveat: Anyone full-up-to-the-teeth with "parenting ennui" [which, as a matter of fact, includes Your Faithful Correspondent here] is quite welcome to skip today's musings...with my total understanding.
"Dragger versus Drag-ee"
"We're the draggers. I think that's what we're supposed to do."
I'm not convinced; or, at least, not appreciative of this Breaking [and I use the word in BOTH senses] News.
" We just have to keep dragging him to places where he'll be confronted with spiritual truth. I know it's not fun, but it's one of the things the Lord would have us do."
These were my husband's words to me this morning in response to my litany of discouragement and confusion regarding one of our sons. [ "The subject's identity has been concealed..."]
In the throes of wrestling to figure out who he is, what's true and what isn't, and whether it's true for everybody or not, he comes quickly to the end of all reserves of patience and tolerance. Growing up is hard on everyone in the household. As is growing old(er). Unfortunately, growing older doesn't necessarily mean the same as 'growing up,' but that's a topic for another day.
"Keep talking, keep talking," someone told me years ago, in reference to some flavor of interpersonal angst. "You're only dead in the water when no one is willing to talk."
Yeah, well, at least that would be peaceful and quiet...
And, anyway, isn't God supposed to be 'on duty,' answering my arrow-prayers for wisdom and discernment here? I recall a particularly comforting thought that I heard on the radio years ago, I think from Andy Stanley (son of Charles). The part I remember is his assertion that, not only is God present and seeing it all, He's also "taking notes." That's how present and interested He is. Well, if you say so. I'll just tuck that away for future reference.
Like so many things in life, the unforeseen impact as we hit another wall in our evolving parent-almost-adult son relationship is one more thing we "didn't sign up for;" as if our preferences have anything much to do with many of our life circumstances. As a dear friend has reminded me over the years, "it is what it is." There ya go.
But this morning includes one of those rather odious episodes in which, not only is there no gleam of light, but there seems to be only exhausting pushback for my efforts at communication. If there's any purpose or value to this, it entirely eludes me. Which makes me tired.
This isn't asking deep questions that reveal a searching heart. This isn't even railing against how hard things are. This seems to be kicking through a few of our recent parenting efforts and punting them back in my face with an attitude. It's enough to make me throw up my hands and threaten to throw in the towel. What difference does it make, anyway? I could be engaged in any number of Much More Fun activities.
And if that weren't enough, next comes the unsuspected announcement that some of his closest friends--at least those he spends the most time with--well, "they don't have any convictions, Mom. I kinda don't even respect them sometimes. But, so what?"
Back to my left-brained, astutely objective spouse:
"He hangs out with these guys who have no spiritual direction, or maybe even no interest. Even if they're playing the part some of the time. But we still put our son in the way of sources of truth, even if we have to drag him sometimes. We can't make him take it in. We don't know how things will be down the road. But we know, even if he doesn't yet, that he'll never live a life of ultimate purpose and fulfillment, God's plan for him, until he is willing to understand and submit to that.
"And we can't make that happen. It IS frustrating. "
Well, I'm with you on the last part there...
So, perhaps the gossamer-thin 'silver lining' to grasp here is that truth-questing is a worthwhile endeavor of the highest order. Indeed, it's not going too far to assert that it's the Most Worthwhile purusit. It's not reasonable to expect it to be smooth or bruise-free. And experiencing it somewhat vicariously as a parent is very different from the first-person journey of our own earlier years.
We may be the draggers, and he may be the unappreciative "drag-ee", but we're with each other over the bumps.
Although arriving at the ultimate Rock is the goal, the first step is to be willing to strive for it. Put down th cell phone; exit out of Facebook; pull out the earbuds. And, as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard would say, "Engage!"
* * * * * * * * *
Ah, but not everyone is treading the deep water at this level of intensity...number 3 son just strolled in to inform me that the American and National League teams are tied 3-3 at the top of the sixth in tonight's All-Star game.
"Well, I'm not really that much of an American League fan, you know, Mom. Because the Cubs are in the N-L. But if the Cubs, aren't playing, okay, I'll take in the Sox."
John is eleven and still refreshingly uncomplicated!