Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Share!? With My Brother AND Sister!?

I am a popcorn thunderstorm in summer, my irritation at repeated sibling unkindness breaking forth into storm--each drop beating harder in time on the metal roof as the waves of water fall, cooling the overheated earth.  Sometimes, the storm is calm and short, other times full of clashing cymbals that command attention.

A different tempo, a different rhythm, but always the same tune...

"God only gave you this brother, this sister.....He gave them to you as a gift, a blessing.  LOVE THEM.  They're all you have."

Most days, it really feels like my three children just don't get it.  But really, how can they? At this age, how can they fathom a world that is unloving, unlovely, and outright cruel, a world that will send you to your knees and stumbling back to someone who unconditionally accepts you?

The children and I routinely discuss the unkind actions of others when we encounter them--rude driver, rude child, etc.  We discuss how these folks maybe just made a mistake like we do, or maybe they don't have Jesus in their hearts, so they just don't know any better.  We have to love them anyway.

But to them, those people are the exception, not the norm.

Young children don't yet understand the closeness of sibling love, the intimacy of the family bond where love should be freely given no matter what...even if you're mean to them on a daily basis, even if you snatch their toy away, spit on them, and read a book a little bit longer just because you don't want them to have it.

And so, I spend my days repeating the same phrases when I could save time by posting a value menu on my shirt and pointing to the numbers.

"You need a number one: 'Was that kind?"

Add to that a number two, three, and four: a "'How would you feel if your sister did that to you?" with a side of 'Did you apologize for hurting her feelings?' and 'Did you ask her forgiveness?'"

And yet, there are glimmers of hope that love stirs between these three uber-competitive children who share each other's DNA.
With a late spring growth spurt for all, sharing food has been a huge problem.  Add to that two favorite fruits ripening on the farm, and it's been a recipe for rudeness and chaos.

Two long rows of strawberries in the garden with plenty enough to fill at least three small tummies, and still, they have nearly knocked each other down in the race for the biggest, ripest, must succulent berry.  And then there's my small blueberry orchard which has averaged maybe 4-5 berries per child per day.

As I weeded yet another out of control flower bed, Wyatt rounded the corner of the house from the blueberry bushes, him almost out of breath in excitement.

"I shared, mommy!  I really shared!  I gave Amelia the biggest blueberry just like Abraham."

Even with sweat pouring down my brow, I had to smile at this expression of love towards his little sister.  Yes, this was just like Abraham who gave Lot the first choice of land and who gave it willingly even when Lot chose the best part.  This was progress.

In Wyatt's next breath, he shared that she, indeed, had chosen the larger berry, but that this was OK because "So, now God will give us even more blueberries!!!"

Hmmm....a bit too literal on the interpretation of God's promise to pour out multiplied blessings on those who willingly share versus hoard them.  Yet, when I opened my mouth to contradict that theology, I found myself clamping it just as quickly shut.

Let him live in this joy that comes from a heart's obedience to God.  We'd discuss God saying "no" another day as we had before when those disappointments came. Now, live in the joy.
A few days later, the boys were tumbling together in the back yard, rough as little boys will be, but obviously loving each other.  Their laughter filled a whole hay field and the wood beyond.

Seconds later, someone stepped on someone's toe or wouldn't share or sprayed someone with water (accidentally, of course), and there I was again.

"Take a number one. 'Was that kind?'"

But for a moment, just for a single moment, I saw the bud forming on the vine and was encouraged to keep watering and pruning so that it blossoms.

1 comment:

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