I stood on the porch in the chilly morning air and watched the boy saunter like a ten year old down the sidewalk, heading east, the bright early morning sun silhouetting his hands tucked into Philadelphia Eagles gloves and clutching the camo lunchbox. His step was light despite the heavy book bag stuffed with homework notebooks and his football he wants to share at recess so the boys can play for a precious few minutes of outside time.
We had been talking about Jason, who’s birthday party he’ll attend on Saturday, and the things Jason likes. As he rounds the corner with a bounce in his step he yells, “Oh, and he likes the Broncos!”
“The Broncos? Boo!” I teased back, and he chuckles with that smile on his face I look for each day since he began school, telling me he’s gonna be okay. He rounds the bend and waves before disappearing behind the bush that takes him down the hill to the bus stop.
As I walk back into the house, his Bible lays put aside on the couch cushion where we sat ten minutes ago reading the last section of Psalm 119. Tim Keller’s The Songs of JESUS has been helpful, and I only rediscovered it after we had rehashed David’s loving of God’s law days in a row, both thinking, “Ok, this is good, but we get it already.” Today’s reflection reminded us of the importance of meditating, memorizing, and following God’s law. “We are to do this morning and night without fail.” We both looked at each other with the sheepish grin of failure. Oops. How are we doing with that?
He told me the post-it notes I left in his lunchbox are helpful. He hung one in his locker, so every time he opens the locker door he sees it: Pray continually. The other day he forgot his library book to return, and when he opened the door, he remembered to pray about that. The other post-it note he threw out because it was saturated with water from the ice-pack in his lunch box.
Some kids are hard to get along with. Some are annoying and throw erasers at his face. Some chat too much or say stupid things. But some he calls friends now. One boy was ultra-quiet at the beginning of the year. The first day, Ethan noticed him and said something like, “You don’t talk much, huh?” Now, Nathan is a “cool kid”. Not like a “kool kid” (bad), but he’s cool (good).
“What does that mean?”
“He doesn’t interrupt me when I’m talking. He listens.” Yep, that is cool.
And tomorrow Nathan will join him at the birthday party. Just the two of them and their friend Jason who turns 11.
He’s growing up. He’s learning to adjust. I remind him each day that Christ is in him. And He is. It’s obvious to me that He is by the things he confides in me about, the things he cares about, the things that bother him and the good things he notices about other kids. For this I am grateful. My goal is to Rejoice Always, just like the post-it note reminded him that he dscarded because it got wet on the ice pack in his lunch box, next to Pray Continually.
I guess I’ll just write another one.