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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stupor - Almost

There, that got your attention, didn't it?

The brutal facts are as follows: I had a rough week on a number of levels, none of which are life threatening, thank goodness. Still, annoying, time-consuming and, did I mention annoying?

So when I came home yesterday, my son asked what I planned to do with the open evening looming before me. He knew the answer before asking the question. Seeing his mother propped up in the recliner, spoon in one hand, peanut butter and two bananas in the other (yup, that's my idea of a binge now that I've sworn off sweets after the scale and I had an ugly tête-à-tête), he saw the handwriting on the wall.

"I'm gonna watch TV!" I announced with the tone of a cirrhosis-livered sailor threatening a two week bender.

My son knows me. He knew what my plans should have been, as I've been bragging all month about how Belabored, the novel God laid on my heart, is almost finished. He's been dutifully tracking its progress and spurring me on, bless his almost 18-year-old heart. But he also knows when to shut up and bring me another jar of cholesterol.

Thus, I commenced my four hour vacation with Jack Klugman, AKA, Dr. Quincy, the crime-solving coroner. He and I stayed put in my living room until the call of nature forced me to abandon my easy chair.

Once upstairs, I realized I had a choice. Being in no mood to dispense pearls of wisdom to as yet unknown readers of my would-be novel, I knew writing was out of the question. Still, I've been putting off reconciling my check book (another fascinating Friday night option), so I sat down and did that. Then I decided to ring up the phone company and get frustrated over their unwillingness to hand over a new cell phone for nothing but the simple joy of keeping me satisfied. I argued with them for about 45 minutes, vociferously proclaiming my good customer status and insisting it wouldn't break them to waive the $40 start up fee they now charge for upgrades. They didn't see it that way, but I did manage to heap a new resentment onto my growing list of complaints for the week. It's always nice to stay on top of things.

When all was said and done, I had paid bills, filed the PHEAA application, responded to old emails, and changed my sheets. I didn't do anything rash like make a meal for my son so he'd have a nice homecoming after a long day of school and work (I didn't want to get too carried away). But I'm pleased to say that those mundane chores, in an odd way, cleared the decks for me to get back to writing today. 

I'm learning that sometimes just doing the next right thing can, in my case, lead to the next write thing.

Check out Newsboys' Rescue

For more like this, check out: 

Morsels for Meditation...: To Whom Shall We Go?

Morsels for Meditation...: The Mom Thing

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Ethan

Check out David Crowder's How He Loves

I don't usually start out posts by referencing a song, but this time I have no choice.

We sang this in church today, and I found myself tearing up. Not because of the lyrics, because the world is brimming with phrases that send chills down my spine. Not because of the artist, who wears his disheveled look like an old satchel and croaks out words with the vocal finesse of a bullfrog. Surely not because I was overcome by some temporary emotional rush, for if that were the case, the overwhelming sense of gratitude would have dissipated rather than grown stronger, as it has, over the course of two decades.

I wept because I have lived the truth behind the words.

Eighteen years ago, I was facing single parenthood and dreading it. I had no clue how my little family would survive, and less than the requisite mustard seed of faith needed to believe God had a clue.

And yet, all these years later, I stand amazed (no, let me amend that, I need to sit down for this revelation) that my heavenly father did just what He said He would do in verses like: 

"I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants
begging bread." ~ Psalm 37:25


"A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation." ~ Psalm 68:5

Perhaps the most daunting piece of my situation was the fact that I was raising not only a preschooler, but also a newborn. Five-year-olds can go off to kindergarten, so at least Mom can count on half a day to accomplish little tasks like earning a living. Five-year-olds can feed themselves and put on their jackets and dial 911 if Mom succumbs to exhaustion. 

Infants can't do any of those things. My Ethan hadn't even been born yet when I realized something was way wrong with our family picture, and he was only six months old when my nightmare became reality. On top of these difficult beginnings, he wasn't the easiest child to raise. One of his earliest full sentences was uttered in reply to my request that he perform some Herculean feat like taking his plate out to the kitchen. In wide-eyed wonder, he unashamedly declared, "I wouldn't wanna have to work!"

Things got worse before they got better. It quickly became apparent that my bright child (who, because of his superior intellect, I had high hopes of advancing right from pre-school to first grade – yeah, right) was neither gifted nor interested in becoming gifted in the wide world of social interaction. Not only did he not fly under the radar, but I have voluminous email files from teachers and principals who didn't know what to do with a student whose bluntness was exceeded only by academic laziness. We darkened many a counselor and therapist’s doorstep. I sought out role models among family and friends to point him in the right direction. All these people and programs helped immensely, but at the core was a heart issue.

My Ethan has a stubborn streak, honestly come by, which informs and drives and makes him hard to reach at times.

That stubborn streak is also the very thing which will make him a fantastic teacher or lawyer or street cleaner, for all I care, as long as he aims it in the right direction.

Anyway, as I was reveling in Crowder’s music this morning, it struck me that one of the biggest ways God has shown his love for me was in giving me this second son, when it was all I could do to manage the first, and providing the family and resources (I still shake my head in wonder at the unexpected ways He provided resources, but that’s another article) and sheer, white-knuckle perseverance needed to move this little pain in the butt from point A to point B.

And let me tell you, this guy has most definitely landed on point B. I could regale you with stories of his accomplishments, but I don’t want to be one of those moms. Suffice it to say, he’s not the same kid – er, make that, young man – he was even a year ago. He’s someone I look forward to spending time with. Someone I can rely on. Someone who knows all my flaws (heck, he put some of ‘em there!), and loves me anyway.

Someone I’m proud to call much more than my child – rather, a very dear friend, and the greatest evidence I have to date that not only is there a God looking out for me, but also that He loves me enough to sometimes give me more than I think I can handle.

Ethan Z. Williams's photo.
                                       Ethan Zechariah Williams, 2014