My oldest is a high school freshman, and since it’s September, we’re in a transition time. Last night things got pretty intense. The workload reached a crescendo and there was a math test scheduled for this morning. He got home from crew practice at 6:30, plunged right into his work, and was cursing loudly in frustration – way up in his room – by the time dinner was ready at 7:30. I knew we were in for a long night.
But rather than let him tough it out, I proposed a different solution. “Bring it down to the kitchen,” I said. “Let’s look at it together.”
He knew I wouldn’t do it for him. And the truth was, the content was not at all beyond his capability. And I told him so.
“You know this stuff. You can do it. You just don’t like the quantity or the methodology.”
All in all – across two subjects – it was about 8 pages, required to be handwritten, and admittedly, his handwriting is abysmal.
What to do for him?
Just BE with him.
I fell back on a lesson I learned fourteen years ago.
In 2003, our extended family lost a precious member, my husband’s cousin, P.J.. I’ve written about the loss of him before. After the funeral, P.J.’s mother (my husband’s aunt) asked us to bring our son (the same one now doing homework) to their home where the family was gathering informally. We ended up being the last guests there. Our infant son fell asleep on Aunt Karen and Uncle Jim’s bed while the four of us stood over him watching – for what may have been 15 minutes – in silence.
I called my mom the next day.
“I didn’t know what to say,” I told her, “The grief is unimaginable. They just lost their son. I can only imagine they were thinking about him as they looked at ours. I had no words to console them.”
My mom replied, “Just being present is a ministry.”
I have never forgotten that.
Just being present to someone in need is a ministry.
So last night, I was fully present to my son.
Nothing but him and me.
I made tea for him – with lemon and honey.
Gave him cookies.
Reminded him to breathe.
Read the directions to him again and again, but didn’t do the work for him.
Told him stories from my high school days to make him smile and reassure him that yes, he will survive even this.
And I lasted with him until bedtime at 11:00 – 1 1/2 hours later than usual for him.
Being present is a ministry.
And you are fully equipped for the job.
Who needs your ministry now?