Jackson 5 Friday: Letting Them Out of Their Box

I’ve often joked that my first born son is a clone.  Sure I gave birth to him, but he doesn’t look like me, he doesn’t think like me — there is essentially no evidence that he’s my son.  Instead, in many respects, he is a nine-year-old version of my husband.  This is fantastic news…mostly!

My second son, Nate, was not so lucky, because there’s abundant proof this one is mine. Nate looks something like me, he thinks a lot like I do, and his sense of humor is similar to mine.  Nate is much more of a roll-with-it guy than his older brother, but his roll-with-it-ness is pretty extreme, pretty slovenly really.  He doesn’t care one iota if his face is covered with chocolate or dirt or that he’s sporting a red gatorade mustache for days.  He wouldn’t think of being embarrassed about it.  He loses things constantly, his homework is often crumbled and stained, and he doesn’t throw away his trash.  And unfortunately, I have to take full responsibility for him.  We sometimes get frustrated with him (like the other day when he came strolling out of the bathroom after a rather extended visit carrying a box of Cheez-Its — yes, it’s true, and yes, of course, we pray for his wife!), but the truth is I can relate to almost everything about him.  And he is a total joy to be around.  In fact today I am taking him to an appointment while the other boys are in school, and I am looking forward to some time with just my Natey Boy.

But since my boys are all so different I could almost sort them into boxes.  Oh this one is sensitive, this one is aloof, this one is x, y, or z.  But God is gracious to remind me that they don’t fit into boxes.  At all!  Instead of being clones, they are full of surprises.

For example, Nate once surprised us in a really sweet way.  We were having dinner at the kitchen table, and a child we had all known was mentioned.  Nate’s face grew serious at the mere mention of this child’s name.  And of course this look of concern piqued our interest.  After a few questions, Nate  — easy, breezy, Nate — burst into tears and cried out, “I don’t think he had any friends!”  He was absolutely distraught about this child’s lack of friends.  Not only did it touch my heart that not-a-care-in-the-world Nate would be so compassionate about a child he only knew very tangentially, but it was a stark reminder that I cannot classify or predict these boys.

I can’t tell you how this encourages my heart.  It means that even though Nate has many of my strengths and many of my flaws.  He’s NOT me!  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!

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