Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Hope in the One

I went to lunch at school to bring cupcakes to Joseph and his class to celebrate his 9th birthday. He is so grown up. So responsible. So capable. And he is still my baby too; he doesn't shy away from hugs yet and still tries to climb into my lap. He is such a joy and I love being his mama!

But what is on my heart right now is an encounter that I had while I was at the school. It was one of those moments that takes your breath away. One of those times when it feels like you are living out a movie script rather than real life.

Charlie and I were running late as usual. (Didn't my last post start this way too?) We quickly signed in to the office and rushed down the hall to the cafeteria. Me balancing 26 cupcakes in two precariously stacked tupperwares and Charlie clutching his sippy cup and a plastic grocery bag holding his lunch and the napkins to serve the cupcakes on.

As we approached the cafeteria, I could see Joseph's class coming down the hall towards us. My son is almost a head taller than everyone else in the class except one other boy. When we sat down I meet the 3 boys that are sitting opposite us.
"I'm Mrs. Holland. What is your name?"
"I'm Demetrius."
"I'm Jacob."
"I'm Campbell."
"It is nice to meet you guys."

We chatted about a few other things--what they had done in PE that day, the fact that they wouldn't get to go outside for recess since it was raining. And then...
"My dad and my mom are both in jail."
Really? Did he just blurt that out? My eyes meet his. His are pale blue behind thick glasses with wire-rims.
"They are? Wow."
What do you say to that?
"I live with my aunt. I am new to this school."
Jacob goes on to explain that Campbell used to go to this school and now he is back here again. Campbell confirms that his aunt lives close by and so he goes here now.
"I am never going to see my dad again."
"I am sorry."
"My whole side of my face was bruised from where he hit me with his hand."
My stomach turns and what I had feared is true. Oh Father, my Abba, give me words.
"That is a lot for a little guy like you to deal with."
Campbell chimes in that this is now the fourth time that he has been taken away from his family. I learn that his mom's trial is today. I ask if he likes his aunt and if she is nice and I get a reluctant yes.

Chocolate as comfort; time slows in the cacophony of lunchtime revelry and I am undone. My heart aches for this little one. For what he has been through and for my inability to do anything about it.

All I can do is listen and offer a moment.

And I can lift up this little one in prayer. And I can trust that my God is a God who makes new. Redeems. Restores what the locusts have eaten. Who puts the fatherless in families.

I know that He is in control and I can hope in Him.

Psalm 68:4-6
Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the LORD;
exult before him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Into the great wide open

We were running a little late this morning, as usual. We live less than a mile from Sycamore Park Elementary and plan to walk to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the weather is nice. And it was beautiful this morning. Warm, but with a gentle breeze that promises cooler days that are yet to come.

We took pictures on the front steps and started off. Three boys in backpacks. One mama clutching her coffee. And a daddy helping along the youngest son.

The walk there was fun. We passed the crazy cat lady's house. Only 6 cats were in sight this morning. She yelled out the door, "School's on this morning?"


Joe prayed over them as we walked. "Lord, help these boys to be lights for you in their school. Help them serve their teachers and be good friends to their classmates."

I prayed silently too for their protection and strength.

As we got closer to the school, we had to weave through the long line of cars waiting to drop kids off at the middle school across the street. Confession time: I would've put on more makeup if I had realized that I'd see so many people! Or rather that so many people would see me!

Our little Holland procession got smiles from the mothers of preteens. Were they remembering how just a few short years ago they were bringing their little ones to their first day of kindergarten? Were they smiling at the funny parade of Hollands--stair-step boys in khakis and polos? Backpack dwarfing five year old shoulders. Will's faux hawk. Joseph so tall and ready to go.

We stopped just outside the front door. I got kisses and hugs from each of them.

"Have a good day!"
"I love you."
"See you this afternoon!"

Will grabbed and picked up Charlie and in the overly-enthusiastic boyness that is Will, fell over on top of him. I heard the thunk of Charlie's head hitting the ground.

Charlie wails and this is suddenly not the peaceful and poignant goodbye that I had planned.

Is it ever?

"David, you will go right down the hall to the kindergarten pod. Joseph, you help him," Joe instructs.

As Joe holds Charlie, the three boys go inside. My little men. A gaggle of teachers waits just inside the door and chats with the boys. They each get their bus number written on the back of their hand so that they know where to go this afternoon.

I watch as they hesitate for a moment.

"Can you see them, Joe? Where is David?"

And then they are off. Down the hall. (In the right direction.)

"They didn't even look back....Good for them."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Letting go

I only got a little teary as we pulled away from the drop off line. While he could see me, I was all smiles and confidence.

"I wonder what you will learn today?"

"You are going to meet so many new friends!"

"I really like your teacher. She is nice."

My little man. Venturing into the world without me by his side.

My mind races back. Is this really the baby that I birthed at home so quickly and so quietly? He seems so very mine that I can't imagine sharing him. So much a part of me.

There is a part of me that wants to hold on. To enclose him. To protect. To shelter.

And yet to do so would be to forget my whole purpose.

I shelter in order to release. I hold tight in order to let go. I protect to allow him to grow strong. I mother in order to send out.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth. Psalm 127:4

Arrows to be shot out. Sent out. Launched.

My prayer for my boys is that they will be men who passionately love Jesus and work to see his kingdom come. Strong men. Bold men. Men with vision and and wisdom. What a gift to get to help launch them!