Friday, December 5, 2008
I'm suffering some growing pains, as a parent. I have been blessed with two, wonderfully unique, kind-hearted children (do you feel the "but" coming), but they are both facing challenges that makes my job, as a single mom, more difficult than usual. The three of us are a team, though, and we'll get through this together...we always do.
I sat down at my computer, after being reminded that I was slacking with my entries, ready to journal about the woes/ joys of pre-holiday chaos. I glanced at the picture of the "I Love You" pennies and my heart shifted, so my writing will follow suit. It must have been close to a year ago: I was fairly newly separated and trying to make a home for my children, in the house we are renting. I don't recall the details, but my stress level was, in general, through the roof and I had lost patience with my daughter over something...most likely, it was something insignificant. She went into her brother's room and was, to my relief, entertaining herself quietly for a few minutes. I do recall feeling mildly put-off when she came into the living room and asked me to come see something she had made. We went through the whole "cover your eyes, Mommy...take my hand...I won't let you bump into anything" routine as she led me into her brother's room. She had spread a blanket on the floor and lovingly created the penny message for me. Sweet? Yes! Given the fact that it was in response to my impatience, however, I'd say it went way beyond that.
Years ago, when my son was very young, I saw an interview with John Travolta, on one of the morning news shows. He was talking about his very un-Hollywood, loving, "normal" childhood. He told the interviewer something, about his upbringing, that I will never forget:
"My parents", he said, "celebrated every breath that I took". He added proudly, "There was not a single day of my life when I wasn't absolutely certain of my parents' unconditional love for me."
The key to good parenting: that's it! From the moment I heard that, I realized it was that simple. Easy? No! Simple? Absolutely!
My daughter's beautiful penny message made me recognize that, in spite of my short-comings as a mom, she knows she is loved unconditionally...and she is learning to give that kind of love back!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I just closed the last page on this book and knew I had to write a blog entry before the memory of how it has impacted me begins to fade. Oh, that is already underestimating the powerful effect this story has had on me.
Mom, if you're reading this...you can stop right now. I'm about to get into the "God thing".
My best (guy) friend, Glenn, let me borrow this book and told me: "This is right up your alley". He also emailed me an article, which briefly outlined the story and highlighted the controversy this book is causing in "the church". That was enough incentive, being the irreverent child I am, to up the intrigue ante.
From the first paragraph of the Foreward, this book had me tight in its grip. It took me several weeks to finish, however, because I didn't want to get to the final sentence. As the story unfolded, both my mind and my heart were filled with hopes/ ideas of how it would/ should further unravel...and how it would end. I believe I was 1/2 way through when I, subconsciously, turned my preconceived notions over to the story...and let God tell it the way I was meant to hear it.
The theological debates over the biblical validity of "The Shack" are of absolutely no importance to me, whatsoever. I heed no warning to the churches' admonishings that this story is "dangerous". If I have to declare my faith, in a conventional manner, I am a Christian. There is, in my humble opinion, nothing in this book that challenges my belief system. It is all about God: at least, the God I know and love.
Regardless of what your spiritual beliefs are...or are not...this book is amazing. It is as far from a bible-thumping, convert-to-one-way-of-thinking-or-spend-eternity-in-damnation story as you will find. What it is.... too big for me to put into words. That, alone, should tell you something!