I was invited to share, at a local Christian school, about writing. In a lot of ways it was like going home. My older boys attended school there. The school is in my old neighborhood. My friends teach at that sweet place.
The familiar can be so comfortable.
So I'm standing at that school, in a classroom, talking with a long-time friend. I hadn't seen her for ages, but we went to the same church years ago. I knew her grown daughters when they were girls. She watched my oldest sons, Logan and Grant, grow, too. My friend and I stand there while the students jostle about in the halls, while the room is yet quiet and still, and we talk fast and deep about growing children.
We talk about the stretch and pull and pain that is just a part of parenting.
I tell her that I'm worried for my boy. The one who danced wild in Sunday school. The one with the gleam in his eye that caused my cheeks, more than once, to burn a deep shade of red.
Not for long, though. Because my friend's eyes are full of compassion and she's listening with her heart. Before long my bound-up emotions tumble out. Words spill fast. I hadn't intended to let them loose. But her compassion is a soft place and I've needed, for some time, to fall.
My friend listens.And when my heart is quiet, she speaks. "A friend taught me to pray," she says, "for whatever it takes."
I look at her. I'm puzzled.
"I've learned to pray, with my kids, for whatever it takes to bring them to close, restored fellowship with the Lord."
Something in me panics. I understand the prayer. Whatever it takes, Lord. What ever life circumstance. Whatever hardship. Whatever hard thing here and now is better than an eternity without You.
The students rush in and the seats fill and it's a few hours before I can consider the prayer. But as my key pokes the ignition the thought of that prayer rambles in my head. It's uncomfortable. It presses on my soul. It's solid and strong the way home. It moves with me over the roads and across the bridge and to the familiar place of home sweet home.
Lord, the most important thing is that my boys accept your grace. That they put their trust in Your Son. That they walk with you and love you with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strengths. The most important thing is that they'll spend eternity in the goodness of your grace.
I'm in the drive now. I should go inside but I cannot leave the van. I sit. I shut the motor off. I watch a red bird flit from limb to limb. I notice winter-bare branches reaching toward the sky.
Lord, You love him more than I can imagine. Please allow whatever circumstance, whatever it takes to draw him close to You.
And the comfort comes.
There's an abundance of love.
There's grace, mercy, and compassion in my uncomfortable prayer.