Thursday, April 16, 2009
Easter Sunday is my favorite religious holiday of the year because the crux of my entire belief system is built on the death and resurrection of my Saviour for the salvation of my soul from sin and death.
Every year Easter is basically the same -- the Easter basket reveal, church, the family dinner. The only thing that changes is where we eat and what is served. And every year I struggle to keep the focus on what the day is all about.
The commercialism is sickening. As hard as I try to keep the focus on what the day symbolizes, I always wonder if Bradley really gets it; if he really understands that all of humanity hangs in the balance as we pray that all will hear the message of the Easter story and will be touched by the love of God. As I prayed for God to really open Bradley's eyes up to what this day was all about in the midst of the excitement of the eggs filled with candy, the bunny, and the anticipation of what else might be in the basket, he did it in a way that only he can. Thus begins our Easter story...
This year we went to my parents' house. My Mom and Dad live across town from us, in a newer neighborhood than ours with lots of kids roaming the streets at any given hour. I'm envious of that most days because although we live within the Nashville city limits in a house with "more character" (btw that's a nice way to refer to it rather than "older." This also works for referring to your wife as the years go by, guys...that one was free, you can thank me later ;)), we can't just turn the kids loose to return when the street lights come on. Not because where we live is dangerous, but because there are no kids to speak of withing walking distance. And frankly, it can be a little eerie to watch as my son becomes Dr. Doolittle. But for as much as I like the idea of kids in the neighborhood, I was reminded on Easter of why I'm thankful to not have a kid in every house on my street...
Bradley came running into the kitchen summoning my Mother to the door and as she answered the door I heard an adult male voice. I was busy feeding the baby in the kitchen and couldn't leave so I sent my husband out to see what had happened. I knew it involved my son and I fully expected to hear that he and the neighbor boy next door whom he's been friends with since he was a year old, had gotten into a neighbors yard and broken something or some other sort of 8 year old boy mischief. But instead, I heard talk of bullying, physical and verbal abuse, and it was aimed towards my sweet boy.
Now anyone who has ever watched Animal Planet or Discovery Channel knows that the quickest way to get yourself hurt in the wild is to mess with a mother's baby. Humans, as sophisticated as we are, are no different than any other animal when it comes to this instinct. The neighbor who had watched the whole situation progress explained it all.
My son had been playing with his friend all afternoon. Things seemed to be going fine up to this point. They had played war, baseball, and hide and go seek. Then enters another boy and a cute girl and suddenly the dynamics changed. Bradley went from playing war to the charming jokester that he is, all to impress the little girl two houses down. No more was his friend the center of Bradley's attention, but this girl hadn't even noticed that he was standing there (this tends to happen when Bradley is around...I mean let's face it, the boy is cute!). Bradley had just stumbled into the dangerous territory of the bruised male ego. As this flirtatious exchange is going on between Bradley and the neighbor girl, another neighborhood boy pulls up on his bike. After a minute of observation, the two boys, both bigger and older, decide to defend their turf. They begin taunting Bradley and making fun of him. They tease him about liking the girl and they sing the k-i-s-s-i-n-g song.
When Bradley doesn't seem bothered by any of this they take it to the next level, one he can't ignore. One boy pushes Bradley down, and as he gets up rubbing his elbow they taunt him some more and ask him why he doesn't let his girlfriend kiss it. This infuriates Bradley and in an attempt to save face he punches his friend square in the nose. By this time, the neighbor is heading across the street to break it up. But not before one boy grabs my baby and the other one grabs his shoe off his foot and clocks him right across the top of the face getting his cheek and head with the sole of the shoe.
And there stood Bradley, all dressed in his Easter best not understanding where it all went wrong and there I stood, a mother with rage in her eyes and total sin in her heart. In this moment I was ready to lose my religion on a couple of eight year old boys. I envisioned myself giving these kids the beating they well deserved but knew I couldn't. I envisioned my self saying things I shouldn't even type. All in the name of a mother's love for her child, in the name of defending the innocent and defenseless...and then, a thought entered my mind. The thought of what that day was about. The thought of my Saviour enduring taunting and beatings much worse than this. The thought of how Mary must have felt to watch her son, her baby, innocent, broken in both spirit and body to the point of death. How did she feel? Did she have the urge to jump in front of him? Did she have the urge to draw a sword, and though she was no match for those who sought to end his life, die trying to save him? Or was she able to hold on, though heartbroken, to the faith that had been established in her from his conception? I imagine so...just as I was reminded in this moment of the promise that I held on to so desperately through my conception as an unwed mother -- Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
And while I'm no Mary and Bradley is no Jesus, I believe that on this day I was given the perfect teaching opportunity, the opportunity that I was praying for, an opportunity to teach Bradley, to draw a parallel from an innocent sinful human suffering injustice to an innocent sinless God suffering injustice, all in the name of Love.
Have you ever been so incited with rage that you act or envision yourself acting in ways that you never thought you could?
Here's a video of Bon Qui Qui...as this incident happened I almost took on her persona..."I will cut you!". Enjoy!
Posted by Beth Luca at 1:53 PM