We all struggle. Some with depression, others with spiritual dryness, past hurts that haven’t healed, watching loved ones get hurt. Here is one I tried to juggle this week with one that I always, for as long as I can remember, struggle with. In this first part, I’ll give you a struggle I had just this week (and it’s only Wednesday!). In the next part, I will share a deep struggle of a lifetime and how bible bingo gave it a new light.
My son, Alex is having some issues fitting in at school this year. We knew it would be tough because they swapped all of his friends around and he’s one of three students that were I the same class just a year before. I talked to him about it before school started and tried to set his expectations.
Alex is a compassionate, musically creative young boy. He doesn’t swear, doesn’t roughhouse and he’s not combative or aggressive. He has a crush and she, very smartly, told him they were too young to think about “that stuff”. I have encouraged him to be as good a friend to her as possible because when they’re older, she’ll remember. The boys at school say he’s annoying because he hums songs when he works. I told him that boys his age may not know how to say what they mean and that it’s probably that the humming interrupts their concentration while they’re learning. He sat next to me and cried about the boys not including him in their club at recess. About how he tries to ask them to play and no one will. How he would just like one friend. Just one. I’m pretty quick on my feet, but when your children come to you and say they just want one friend, you’re rendered speechless. Especially when that’s followed up with “I’m not good enough, maybe I really am annoying”. I always try to turn to scripture, the Holy Spirit and prayer when I’m faced with anything. I thought of this through his sniffles:
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
I immediately looked it up and began to read it to him. Of course, I helped to interpret it so he really grasped what I was getting at. I told him, Alex “God doesn’t want us to speak evil of anyone, and that means ourselves. He made us so perfectly unique, each of us. He wouldn’t have given you this musical heart because he wanted you to keep it quiet. Let’s change the negative self-talk, shall we? Hum all you want, at recess and at home. If the boys at recess don’t want to play with you and it hurts you, put that hurt in your pocket, bring it home we’ll talk about it. We’ll make it better. I promise. Mommy will be a total sillycake till you laugh. Besides, if you think about it, it’s only been two or so months of school. You have the rest of the year yet to make close friends!” I told him he should also pray about it before he went to bed. To ask for the grace of peace and understanding.
The next morning, I went to daily mass and stayed in the chapel to pray the rosary and sit in adoration. I didn’t say anything, but remained open. I lit candles for both of my boys (along with others). I had a regular day and when I picked Alex up from school he told he was asked to play with the group. He was skipping. He said that his prayers were heard!
I am sure they were.
To be continued…