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.