Sunday, August 14, 2011

Length & Convolution (w/ a Gospel Message)

I spent most of the day, today, with my son.  Jim wasn't feeling 100% this morning, and it was pouring the rain, so he stayed home with the babies while Cade and I went to church.  We sang in the choir, as we always do, and he crowded me in the pew, as he always does.

Today, Pastor David began his sermon by talking about being lost (in the non-religious sense).  Sometimes, he said, we know we're lost, and sometimes we don't: either way, we're lost.  He mentioned a group of church ladies who headed south instead of north on the interstate, one time, and didn't realize it for a couple hundred miles. 

Pastor David proceeded to read out of I John 1.  He explained that--in order to be saved--a person must recognize the sin in his or her life and truly repent of it.  He stressed: it's not enough to learn about Jesus in class, attend church regularly, be a "good person," repeat someone else's prayer, or get baptized.  And, tragically, many people believe they've been saved because they've said or done things that didn't involve repentance, at all.  They're lost and don't know they're lost.***

Now, I'd promised Cade that--if he achieved an "A" average in all of his classes, last year--we'd do something really fun, just the two of us.  He managed to pull off the A in social studies by the very film on his teeth, so I owed him and decided to make today our special day.  We played two games of putt-putt and sprayed one another with water out of bumper boats.

As we walked toward the boats, I claimed the turquoise and purple one, which turned out to be genius on my part.  My boat shot water out in a perfect arc so it landed--with precision--in Cade's lap.  Conversely, his boat shot water straight ahead in such a way that I could duck a lot of it.

I laughed so hard I swallowed my gum.

Thanks to my perpetual state of Lake Preparedness, I had beach towels in the minivan.  So we dried off and went to Chili's.

Over dinner, I interrupted Cade, at one point, to ask: do you feel confident in your salvation?  Do you pray even when Mommy's not praying with you?  Do you feel Jesus, in your heart?  He answered all three questions with a bright and confident "yes" and returned to his talk of video games and Peter and the Starcatchers.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (3 John 1:4, KJV). 

I was relieved by Cade's answers, today, but, you know, he has good "fruit of the spirit."  Just today, I was concentrating on the road and daydreaming about sports camp when he leaned over, suddenly, and turned off the radio.  "What was it?" I asked.

"Mom, they were talking about moist chocolate cake," he answered.  "And I didn't think you needed to hear that, since you're dieting and all."

And, one day last week, Cade's dad and stepmom drove over to get Cade and came in to visit with the babies, who were fairly off the hook thanks to its being past naptime.  At one point, Jason and Tabitha were ready to leave, and Cade was nowhere to be seen.  We adults joked around about Cade's tendency to wait until the last minute to gather his belongings from the four ends of my (messy) house, also Cade's tendency to read for long periods of time in the bathroom (where the babies can't bug him).  But, suddenly, Cade emerged from the belly of his room, waving a glue stick.  And we adults watched as he carefully reaffixed a googly eye to Clementine's construction-paper bear on a stick, saying: "Now, MeMe, you can show it to Daddy when he gets home."

Oh, I have prayed desperately for my son.  I wanted so much for him to have what I had, growing up: happily-married parents.  And I guess he does; they're just not married to one another.  I beg God to redeem my failures and make my son better and more than I've been.  Just today, I asked Cade: "You be a'ight?"

"What do you mean: 'I be a'ight?'"

"You keep doing well in school?  Keep working hard at Scouts and karate?  Keep your good friends?  Don't smoke or do drugs?  Wait a long time to get married and have kids?  Wait a long time to have sex...preferably 'til you're married?  Because you know: you don't have to do things just because other people do them."

He nodded and smiled out at me from his wide, gray-green eyes.  "I be a'ight, Mom," he said.

It's been seven years since I left Cade's dad, and they (being bright with promise compared to the seven years during which I lived with his dad) have, mostly, flown.  I have seven years, more, before Cade leaves for college.  I know they, too, will fly. 

What joy to know Jesus goes with Cade, wherever and whenever he goes.

***If you have questions about salvation, feel free to e-mail me at normalgirl (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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