Our son is known for his few words, but interestingly enough, he is considered a communicator in the business world where he works.
We think of one who communicates as one who has an arsenal of words, a silver tongue, and a wordsmith. Maybe not, maybe they value their words, count their words, so to speak. Their words can cut between soul and spirit; and pierce the heart and make one look at oneself.
I recently sent one of my articles to our son. It was the one about stepping over the line, pushing our convictions and our knowledge on someone who doesn’t want it.
He replied with three little words, “Is That You?”
I immediately dashed off an e-mail asking him if he meant he was surprised that I was so open or so blatant, or maybe the article was too graphic. I asked him to explain himself. He was too evasive.
No response! Silence! Have you noticed how silence can speak volumes? I took his three words to my husband, Al and asked him what he thought those three words meant. He couldn’t get the jest either. It could mean this or that.
Then the spirit in me reminded me of a favorite story that Nathan the prophet told David about a little lamb and said,
“You are the man.” Only then David knew. Nothing else needed to be said. Those four words convicted David’s heart; he knew what he had done.
Most times I already know what I have done; I just don’t want to admit it to myself. A light went off and I immediately knew what our son was saying,
“Is that you?” He didn’t need an answer, I needed the answer.
We have 40 years of history between us. For an example, when the kids were dating, I always enjoyed telling their dates “I have been praying for my children’s future mates.
Then I asked each of their dates, “Are you the one I have been praying for?”
Oh my goodness, when I did that each child died in embarrassment. How could I do that? Our son thought it was absolutely the rudest and crudest thing I could say to someone for the first time.
I meant every word. I knew the right person was out there for each one of them and I prayed that they would know it. That person was also being groomed for our child, to be compatible with their needs also. A lot of prayers had gone up for each one of them. My children needed to know I was serious and it was a very serious decision. Also the ones they brought home needed to know the importance. Their dates were speechless and under whelmed. They were caught off guard and couldn’t leave quick enough. I probably fudged the line a little, you think? However, I probably would do it all over again.
Maybe another example is this: when Al and I go to our adult children’s homes, we take it upon ourselves to clean, re-decorate, remodel and make their homes better than how we found them. Our motive is to help, that’s all. Two of our children are thrilled to see us come; we sweep down cobwebs, wash windows, clean the oven and clean cupboards, we also throw away excessive magazines and things we consider junk.
One child is very protective with her things and feels we have invaded her space and warns us not to touch anything. She goes through the dumpster when we leave and retrieves things she doesn’t consider as junk.
During our most recent visit with our youngest daughter, Al and I cleaned her kitchen cupboards. We threw away extra plastic bags, old margarine containers and things that took up space. When we were through, her kitchen was spacious, easy to find everything, clean and orderly. I wished my own cupboards were so organized.
She called us in a reprimanding voice, “We will talk when I get there this weekend. I have written a ten-point guideline just in case you decide to do any more work in my home.”
We laughed and hanging up the phone Al says to me, “Sounds like, ‘wait until your dad gets home, you’re going to get it.’” After her initial shock, our daughter was thankful and when she came for the weekend she didn’t bring up the 10-point guideline and we didn’t ask.
Our fourth child, our son with few words, who asked, “Is that you?” has moved out of the country. Is that saying anything? We also cleaned his home when he lived close. Maybe we have again stepped over the line and those three words; “Is that you?” means, “Look closely at yourself. Know who is receptive and who feels invaded. Ask, before you plow through. If you ask and they say“‘No’, trust they are not ready for re-construction. Not just yet.”
The more I think about it, we would make for a successful dysfunctional TV reality show. We have learned to laugh at ourselves; I don’t think our children are laughing. Have not all of our children become smarter than we are? Some of our children have learned to say three other words, “That’s just Mother.”
Final brushstroke: I am thankful our children are forgiving. It might behoove us to ask ourselves, “Is that us?”
Please write. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artist’s quote: “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” — Unknown.