he balled his hands into fists, squinted his eyes in vain effort to stop the tears dropping out, and said that yes, he thinks differently from others and no, he’d never learn to speak in a way to be heard.
and as he did, my heart, too, broke a little, because well i remember the fears of adolescence. and the fears of yesterday. and just earlier today.
it took time, and tears did spill from us each, and it took work to dig up the dreaded feelings and to wrestle them into understandable terms for us each. and it moved us toward understanding and potential for meaningful action and a breaking of defensive barriers and a drawing toward not just each other’s hearts, but our Papa’s, and toward the hearts of those around us.
i know, son. i too fear sometimes that i’ve nothing of value to say, or i’ve no way to say what might be worthy, so that others will hear it. i too am frustrated at rules that don’t make sense and pretense of genuine interest and yes, even at my own brokenness. that’s why we study, and learn, and grow, and ask for Help.
i rush. i hurry through days and i hurry those in my care. “get it done,” i say. “focus.” and too often i speak the words and urge the action and i don’t stop and listen, not just with my ears but with my whole heart.
it took stopping dead in my tracks, squelching the hurry-urge and the self-important air and it took being urged toward being humble. being little. it took apologizing for always teaching, not listening enough to learn, even from a younger one. because truthfully, the Truth comes often through the “little” ones.
which is funny, because he’s stronger and bigger than me in ways that mean something. the muscle and sinew and shoulders broad enough to lift even me, mama-of-too-many-pounds, capture my glance often. the littlest at birth, and the strong one now ‘most-grown-up.
and he trusted me with his heart, and my shutting up opened a door and broke down barriers and allowed for conversation. because yes, it’s the listening. and then it’s the talking, of another, that matters.