There he lay, next to the Lego table, face buried in the carpet, crying. He turns his teary face upward where I am sitting and says, “Mom, there is just something wrong. Sometimes I start and I just keep going. I can’t stop and I just don’t know why.”
It was Friday night. We were eating dinner. I asked him to clear his plate and he just lost it. He said no and then tried to run away. In his attempt to quickly bolt he hit is sister on the way out of the kitchen. Now she’s crying. He’s laughing maniacally and throwing pillows off the living room couch.
When I ask him to please stop it is like I lit a match and now he’s pulling blankets out of their bin. Each attempt I make to ask nicely or remind him of the rules or redirect him are met with more intensity. Each time he finds a new way to destroy what was a picked up living room. As this continues he moves through the front room and into his bedroom, leaving an obvious path.
Now caught in his room he makes an attempt to lash out physically. This is where I draw a hard line. While it isn’t okay to be wild and make a mess, I can back track and we can correct that together when he is calm. Violence will not be tolerated, once you hurt someone you can’t take it back.
I take him to the Lego table by the hand, his happy place. He picks up a stack and throws them at the wall. I set him in my lap and hold him like a baby, tightly to my chest. He struggles in attempts to get free. He has moved from wild to angry.
In his anger he says some unkind words and attempts to break free. I hold tightly silently praying as the father of the cursed son in Mark…
“But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
In these moments I often utter these words for myself and my son.
Some time passes and I am able to lay him on the floor and begin to rub his back. He begins to cry. He has hit his breaking point. He is coming back to me, the real him.
As his tears continue my own begin. I look at the clock and realize we’ve been at this for 40 minutes. He’s exhausted, I’m exhausted. Everyone is safe and calm. The tears fade just as quickly as they began.
I mention that we won’t be going to our evening activity because we are already late.
He stands up, wipes his face and says “Mom, I’d really like to go and I know my sisters would want to go. If I help get our things together can we please go?”
It was so clear and calm. Yes, we can go.
We gather our things, get into the car and head out to watch Frozen with friends in our PJ’s. A few minutes into our 15 minute drive he looks in the back seat at his sisters…“Girls, I am sorry we are going to be late, I know it is my fault. Will you forgive me?”
Sweetly and kindly they both say yes and they all chit chat about how much they love Frozen and popcorn and how fun it is that they get to do this tonite.
My tears keep falling. Now they are happy tears. The confession and repentance and forgiveness. So real and so beautiful, even in the midst of the broken Difficult Mind that looms over their every day.
“Hope and Sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”
There’s Rescue: Completely independent of any input my son both confessed his fault and asked for forgiveness. I am encouraged by his ability to learn that his actions do affect others.
There’s Not: This scenario will likely repeat itself in the not to distant future. The outcome is not always so clear and even if it is there are tears. I’m sad that this is the way my son and his siblings are learning about brokenness.
Today I am thankful for forgiveness. The ability to both ask for it and give it. I am most thankful for glimpses of hope like this one. My sons Difficult Mind can learn compassion. I hope for more days like this one.