A work in progress

So it seems my blogging hit a wall this week, and I’ve barely had time to devote to it. My apologies, although only being a couple weeks into it, I’m sure I have not disappointed too many. Life just gets in the way of things sometimes, and before you know it, days have gone by.

But so much has happened, I could probably writer for hours. It would bore you to death, but I could do it. Several of my patients have died this week, including the wonderful man who mistook me for a 20-something. His death was peaceful, although all things considered, he did not want to die. He may have come to terms with his eventual death, but he did not want it, for sure. I was glad to have spent the time with him that I did, and I hope he found some comfort in the words I spoke to him.

I also received some good news from my church body’s synod office. Things are moving quickly toward official commissioning as a Deacon, and there is much planning involved in making this happen. More news coming soon I hope. By and large though, I’ve spent the majority of my time attending the school events for my children. My oldest’s high school musical is now complete, and I don’t think I’ve laughed that much in a long time. It was nice to get out of my head for a while and just enjoy seeing all of the kids work together and have fun performing. I remember being in that exact same place, having done the musical during my high school years. Memories like those are cherished.

Today though, was spent about 90 minutes from our home at another high school, where my youngest was performing in three different choir groups at the Solo and Ensemble contest. When it was all said and done, they had delivered excellent performances. I know it’s not easily when you’re 12-14 years old, your voice and looks changing, and you’re asked to get up in front of other people.

Well today, I got to see middle school at it’s finest. In the span of just 5 minutes, I saw a boy with a mohawk, another boy with teal hair, and a third with his hair in a ponytail on the top of his head. All great kids, I’m sure, but obviously each trying to figure out their own personal style and personality. I spent a good deal of time (as we waited for hours in between performance times) listening to the kids as they laughed, talked and prepared for their judging. My child’s friends were a mixture of personalities as well. A pack of cards was introduced from my child’s backpack, and it was as if the kids had never seen such a thing before. Once of the boys had never played cards, and didn’t even know how to hold them in his hands. He was a sweet kid, polite and quiet, but yet goofy and funny as well. Before long, he was winning at hands of rummy. He’s the kind of kid I want my child to be friends with for the long haul.

The girl at the table though, was a force to be reconed with. She was bossy, loud and overbearing. The chaplain in me could see she was compensating for something else in her life, but I didn’t really like to watch her behavior up close. I was amazed that the sweet boy I met today was more than willing to jump up and do her bidding at a moment’s notice. (And before you say it, No, it wasn’t because he likes her) All it seemed she had to do was sigh and say, “Oh darn, I forgot my bag in the gym,” and give this boy a look. It seemed liked he had done this multiple times before, so it was no big deal, and off he went to the gym. When he returned, she whined, “Oh, you didn’t bring my lemonade.” Never mind that she had another drink in the bag as well.

As the day progressed, her behavior became more rowdy, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. Even my child retrieved something for her on the way to the bathroom after she shouted, “Hey, my lemonade!” as my child walked away. While she was polite and said thank you, it never seemed to occur to her to actually get up and get her items herself. The truly sad thing is this: I knew I needed to bring her home with us because she lives only a few blocks from my home. Initially, I had grandiose ideas of taking both kids out for an early dinner to a pizza place. But once I witnessed her behavior, I decided she didn’t deserve this kind of treat. I spent a good portion of the afternoon wondering if I was being to harsh.

As we prepared to leave, she debated with me why we were leaving, even though both kids were finished with their performances (She evidently wanted to stay until the end to watch one of her friends perform). I disagreed, so we began walking toward the exit. Unfortunately, she needed to retrieve her ear buds, which a friend had borrowed. As we walked toward the performance rooms, she again sighed and said, “I really don’t want to have to walk up to the second floor.” Sure enough, the sweet boy I had met quickly came to her aide and said he would do it. She then walked back to the gym with my child, who had found her friend already and retrieved her ear buds. Evidently she was then ready to go, but I reminded her that it was rude to leave after their friend said he would go looking for the ear buds. She smirked and said, “Oh, yeah. Right.”

So I ask you – was I right in my decision to not stop for said dinner on the way home? Should I chalk it up to kids being kids and middle school being that “discover who you are” time of life? I still don’t know. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on my own life, and don’t recall being quite that domineering or rude. It seemed to come so naturally to her! I seriously debated with myself the entire way home, and, after dropping her off and a snarky “thanks for the ride,” comment from her, was glad I had stuck to my decision. But some doubt still lingers. If there really is something going on behind all of that attitude, etc., shouldn’t I make more of an effort to nurture her and make her more comfortable so she can share what’s going on?

I don’t claim to be a perfect Christian, or a perfect human being. I have so much work to do to become a better, more loving person. Today was a tough day for me in that regard. I was judgmental and irritated. What’s worse, my child witnessed my irritation first hand, which required conversation about it after we dropped her off. So my prayers tonight will be for wisdom and understanding, as well as for the ability to offer grace to others. I am a work in progress.

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