I cried over the phone today.
Then again at dinner.
But let me back up and tell you why first. I get a phone call today, 3pm.
“This is Grant.”
“Hi. My name is Sue (not real name), I’m with 501 USD (school district that kids are in) and are the father of a 5th grade boy at McCarter?”
My heart gets very heavy, very quick.
“And you’re the new preacher in town, right?”
I can’t count the number of parents I’ve talked to, listened to, cried with, sat with when they get news that their kid has done something utterly, profanely stupid. I’ve seen the hurt, frustration, anger, confusion. I’ve comforted as best as I can but right now in this instant all I can think of is — I’m about to be one of those parents.
“Well, Mr. English….I don’t know how to say this. I really don’t. I’ve seen a lot of Christian families, dealt with a lot of Christian parents. Almost all of them have been very combative, very judgmental and their kids hellions.”
“But I’ve never seen anything like your son. He’s respectable, honorable, likeable, and honest. He’s smart as a whip and he’s not one of them sissy boys either. Do you know that I overheard some boys talking with him and they asked him about why he didn’t do something and he told them – “Because I love Jesus.” And since he’s a good athlete, they left him alone and respected him.”
“So…Cooper isn’t in trouble?”
“In trouble? No! Well he did get in a little trouble for playing in the water fountain after gym. But when we confronted those boys about it – he was the only one that said he’d been throwing water and he’d clean it up. He was just being a boy, no big deal…but I also heard about what you and your church did for McCarter at the school fair.”
“Now, I’m a pagan. Never saw much use for God but after seeing your son and actually your girls as well plus what you guys are doing at McCarter…I may have to rethink this Jesus guy. You wouldn’t mind if I showed up at your church one Sunday, would you?”
I can’t really answer her because I’m crying. I’m humbled beyond measure. I stumble out yes, love to talk with you, answer any questions. We just wanted to help McCarter out. That’s it. No big deal.
We talk for a few minutes more, hang up.
At dinner tonight, I replay the whole conversation for the family. Amy tears up. I tear up. The whole family tears up. So I’m becoming a cry baby as I get older but I’m also astonished at how God moves. I shouldn’t be…but I am.
We’re not great parents. We’re parents who love Jesus and love our kids and are trying to figure out how not to ruin the gifts God gave us. I take shortcuts at times…get lazy…get frustrated. I’ve spanked the wrong kid, yelled when I’ve should have listened, and pushed when I should have hugged.
But tonight…I’ve never been prouder of my kids.
Shine…Let them wonder what you’ve got.