Friday, December 19, 2014

What He Gives


It was hot outside, the windows opened as wide as they'd go. They came in like they always do, brakes grinding, bass thumping, doors slamming, through the front door with a whiff of smoke, as loud as you can imagine. No, louder.

They'd punched the clock and had an hour to spare before curfew at Work Release, where they're both locked up. They don't always come home for their break, but oh man, when they do...

The part of me that wants everything planned, scheduled out, available to me on my terms? That part of me is shedding its skin, by force. That part of me is dying. So little happens on my terms anymore. And I hate it. And I love it.

I stood on my side of the island like an old-school diner cook. All I ever want to do is feed them, and you'd be surprised how often I'm turned down. But no one passes on pulled chicken sliders with pickles so I slid them over on paper plates and he marveled at the tiny buns, then ate them in two bites each.

Something made me grab the camera and capture this single, cock-eyed moment of my who-would've-guessed life. Maybe I knew I wouldn't be seeing D for a while, or maybe it was the way they stood there cutting up like they might have done back in elementary school, when the whole world still belonged to them, whether they knew it or not.

You might call these guys criminals, and you'd be right. You could label them and decide things about them because of the way their pants hang or the way the cigarette dangles from their lips. Maybe their tattoos would grab you, or the fake studs in his ears. Maybe you'd hear the way they speak when they think the coast is clear, and you'd cringe.

But come into my kitchen and you'll see everything else.
Better yet, fling open your fridge and decide you don't give a rip about who wears work boots across your clean floors. Tell them the truth. Hug them. Let them be loud.

I stuck my head out the door that day as they were leaving and R jumped out and ran back up to hug me again. D did the same, throwing his hands in the air at Robert, "What? She's my mom, too."

This was news to me, but it was no surprise.
Some kids know how to make soup with two stones and a rusty bucket.
They know what they want, somehow they know what they need, and they don't miss an opportunity. They don't pick sides. They add to what they have and it all gets stronger.
Some sons know families can be made, that it's not all up to blind luck. They know they have the power to shift the ground so their marble rolls a different way.

He gives the childless woman a family, so that she becomes a happy mother. (Psalm 113:9)
He gives the parent-less child a family, so that he becomes a happy young man.

We all come out winners.

38 comments:

  1. What a happy photo! I'd love to pull up a stool and have a chicken slider with them. Noise and all! I love that they came back to give you a hug! That's my favorite part . . . though the sliders are a close second. :)

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  2. There can only be one possible comment for this priceless pic.....#swoon. The. end.

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  3. Your open door reflects your open heart where these two have found a home - you are beautiful Ms. Shannan. Truly.

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  4. I love your stories about your son. This picture is beautiful, like your heart.

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  5. i absolutely love their genuine look of fondness for each other...and their smiles...you are indeed blessed. this and your words makes my heart swell. rock on!

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  6. Shannan!!! Gah, woman. Again?!?! So soon. You might consider spacing these heart wrenchers out a bit more. For the love. Recovery time. I mean, I know you gave us some Christmas decor, skin care and weekend cheer. But still... Never mind. You can wreck me as much and as often as you like. Continue to teach me to love with your life, sensei. Pretty please.

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  7. story teller, truth weaver, heart finder, family maker. you are so many things, shan.
    xoxo

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  8. Simply beautiful! Thanks for letting us in to share in your joy!

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  9. Ah, you just made me cry - "What? She's my mom, too." The boys looks so happy in that photo. Genuinely happy! You were made to be a mom :)

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  10. You hit me right where it hurts. The love you convey and the words you use to share your stories are so precious to me. Keep these glimpses into your life coming… they're just the push that some of us need to spread more of God's love, instead of hoarding it for ourselves.

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  11. He gives the barren woman a home, so that she becomes a happy mother. (Psalm 113:9)
    He gives the parent-less child a home, so that he becomes a happy young man.

    Okay, I was fine until this...and then the tears! Amen

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  12. love love love! your posts reach me in a way that no others do. the love you have. amazing. please write a book. :) merry christmas!!

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  13. I haven't seen a picture I have loved more than this in a long time!!! What a beautiful shot. I can imagine those 2 as elementary school kids. Those faces! Wouldn't it have been great if you would have been in their lives when they really were in elementary school? At least you are there in their lives now. God bless you all!!!

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  14. Thank you for this Shannan. I love all your posts but my heart goes all wonky when they are Robert posts. The last few years of my sons life I met and loved several Roberts that Matt brought into my life. My heart is more open because of it. Also wanted to thank you for posting about "Serving Life" on Netflix. Have trouble articulating....all the feelings and almost all the Kleenex.

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  15. Goosebumps all.the.heck.over!!!!!! Love this Love this Love this~~~so blessed by your sweet life, all of your children and your bravery <3

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  16. What a great picture. They look so happy and just enjoying the moment. You wouldn't know they were about to return to lock up. Glad they have the work release program. They have to love you dearly for being their with open arms. Hugs

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  17. One of those perfect moments when God shows his face. Tears. So precious. Thank you for letting God mold your heart and shape your words.

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  18. You caught Robert smiling! Perfect in every way!

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  19. Already feeling weepy this morning and then that pic? SOOOOO very precious! Glad you got to feed them and got those extra hugs!

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  20. I am learning the lesson of "not on my terms", and it's painful sometimes. But I'm learning that's where the good stuff grows, and that's where I want to be.

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  21. Shannan - your graciousness is amazing! And inspiring! And such a great reminder of what is important. Thank you!

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  22. Egads, girl! You are full of brave love. An inspiration to me.

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  23. You just kill me-in a good way of course. LOL I really respect what you do for these guys, and the love you show these deserving boys. God bless you all and Merry, Merry Christmas.

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  24. Oh, man, tearing up over this one. Beautiful.

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  25. This....is the absolute best! Thank you for encouraging your readers to pull up a stool and join in your journey of love! Merry Christmas and hugs to all...extra big ones for Robert! and don't forget "D"!

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  26. I am convinced one of the greatest pleasures of life is feeding hungry boys…food and love. Merry Christmas!

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  27. Oh Shannan, I love how you write about Robert. I can just feel the love that is between you two.

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  28. Crying. Because I can so relate. I have an R in my life and he makes me crazy and yet I just can't stop loving him. So much beauty and truth in your words. Peace and joy and all the love.

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  29. Naon jeng gambar! Abdi cinta ka narik nepi a stool jeung slaider jeung hayam-geus 'em. Sora nu bising sareng sadaya! Abdi bogoh nu Maranéhanana datang deui méré Anjeun nangkeup hiji! Éta bagian paporit mah. . . ngaliwatan slides nu hiji kadua deukeut. :)

    http://www.myshop.com.pk/smartphone-mobile/samsung-mobile

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  30. I also have an R in my life, he is mine by birth, and makes me crazy, but I stay up at night praying and worrying, and asking others to pray...he is the child that makes me laugh the hardest when it's all good, cry the hardest when it's not...

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  31. I love this. Thank you for sharing! A very Merry Christmas to you and all your peeps! :-)

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  32. I love this. You are a remarkable woman and an inspiration.

    Hope you and your family had an amazing Christmas!

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  33. Sometimes you make me cry alligator tears. So thankful for His grace in you

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  34. Reading this makes me love you so much and wish I was as brave and selfless.

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