Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stop Hitting Me!

A few, short days after sharing the amazing break-through George and I experienced, George was back at his old ways.  I knew it would happen, so it didn't take me by surprise.  But, it was a doozey.

George was angry.  A perceived injustice - that is what most of his outbursts boils down to.  George THINKS he has been slighted in some way.  9 times out of 10, he was not.  He just takes any opportunity to fight.  This day was no different.  George said he liked playing drums.  Anna then says that Harry likes playing drums, too.  Then she goes on to say, "I don't know why Harry doesn't play the drums more...he is really good.  I like it when he plays the drums."

George responds with great anger in his face with a mutter, "I will take him down!"

I ask, "What did you just say?"

"I said I am going to take Harry down!"  He screamed as he repeated himself.

My next obvious question is, "Why would you say that?"

"Because Anna said Harry is a better drummer than me!"

"No I didn't!"  Anna chimes in.

This is how it all started.  I try to talk to George about two things:  A)Anna never said Harry was a better drummer than you and B) the reaction of "taking Harry down" was probably a little over-kill even IF Anna said Harry was a better drummer than you.

I can't even begin to address these things because George is immediately screaming at me.  This time, he got very personal and told me he hated me (which he always does), said he couldn't wait to leave the family, went on to say he say I am the worst mom that ever lived and then....he called me....an OLD WOMAN.

He stormed up to his room and packed up his backpack and then announced he was running away.

I let him go.

I let him stay gone for one hour.  But inside my stomach was turning summer-saults and my mind was racing about all the "what ifs".  Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer and I WENT LOOKING FOR HIM.  Because that is what mommas do.

I knew he wouldn't leave our neighborhood.  Outside our neighborhood is a very busy street with n o sidewalks.  We often talk about how dangerous that road is.  I know that more than anything...fear grips George's heart.  So, I turned into our neighborhood and began the search.

I found him down the street.  Just standing with his bike.  His head hung very low.  He didn't even look up when I drove next to him.

"Do you really want to run away?"

"Yes!"

"OK - hop in the car."

At that point, I called a friend of mine.  I will call him a God-send.  He is a pastor at our church and over the past few months I have learned a bit of his story.  He was abandoned as a child.  He was very, very angry.  And he completely understands George...and me.

I picked up my phone and called me.

"I am having a tough day with George. Can you talk to him?"

Of course.

So, we drove, mainly in silence.  The one thing I did say to George was that this was his choice.  I was not making him leave.  I was not forcing him to say hurtful things day after day.  All of these things were under his control and he was making this bed to lie in.

I met up with my friend, told him the events of the day, and then said goodbye to George.  George slowly got out of the car...but he did not take his backpack full of his things.  I noticed, but I didn't say anything.  I just drove away.

Later that night, when George returned, he shared with me parts of their conversation.

"He told me a story, momma.

He said, 'What if I hit you across the face?  What would you do?'  I told him that I would be angry.  'What if I then say, "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to hit you.  Please forgive me".  Will you forgive me?

I told him I would forgive him.

'OK...the next day, I hit you across the face again.  And then I come to you an hour later and say that I am sorry and that I didn't mean it.  Would you forgive m?'

I told him I would forgive him.

'The next day, guess what?  I hit you across the face again.  A few hours later I tell you I am sorry and I didn't mean to hit you.  Would you forgive me then?'

I told him I would probably be really mad, but I would forgive him.

'The next day, I decide to hit you across the face again.  I then say I am sorry and that I didn't really mean to hit you.'

I said that I would be really mad and tell you to stop hitting me!

'George, that is what you are doing to your momma every day.  You say you love her, but do your actions and your words say that you love her?  When you tell her you hate her over and over again, it is like hitting her over and over again and then just saying later that you didn't mean it. '

Something sunk in.

George came home a little different.  And he was been sweeter to me.

I woke up this morning singing Amazing Grace.  It is a new version by Hillsong - there is a bridge where the song goes, "I can see the love.  I can see the love in your eyes.  Laying yourself down, raising up the broken to life."

I am struck by the words laying yourself down....that phrase was repeating over and over again in my head this morning.  What does it mean to lay yourself down?  I know this song is talking about Jesus, but as a Christian, I am called to imitate Jesus.  So I must lay myself down.  In US today, what does that look like?  Our pastor recently preached on Mark 8.  "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."  Our pastor said this, "Picking up your cross is NOT the implications of life in a broken world".  So, picking up  my cross (laying myself down) is not catching a cold but still getting up to do laundry and make dinner.  It is NOT dealing with the perceived injustices constantly talked about on Fox News.  Picking up my cross, and then laying myself down, looks more like intentional choices to live sacrificially.

To love sacrificially.  To love when it hurts.  The chose to love when my flesh screams "No!  Stop hitting me!"

To forgive sacrificially.  To forgive when it is not deserved.  To chose to forgive when someone hasn't even asked for forgiveness.

To show mercy sacrificially.  Tho bestow grace sacrificially.

And trust me...I am not good at this sacrificial life!  There are days where my mind and my flesh scream "No more!  I quit!!"

And yet...as soon as I say that, my mind is drawn toward Christ on the cross.  He did not quit on me.

I will chose to continue to lay myself down.  I will fail every day at doing that, but I will keep choosing.

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