Jackson Five Friday: Every Family Needs a Nate


Yesterday I took my son, Nate, to a physical therapist.  If you know Nate, you know he’s a super athlete, except for the fact that the poor kid can barely run, which is kind of important for sports.  His legs are so tight that running looks strained and painful, although the sweet kid never complains.  Anyway, hopefully he’ll outgrow it (although growing bones exceeding the rate of growing muscles is likely the root problem).  In the meantime I thought it was worth seeing someone about.

I picked him up from school and it was just the two of us to the appointment and back — a rare treat.  Nate is one of the world’s greatest conversationalists.  He asks thoughtful questions and loves hearing about my childhood.  I had him laughing so hysterically that I’m sure his stomach hurt by the time I dropped him back at school.  To say that Nate is a good audience is like saying guacamole is good — doesn’t even hint at the profundity of it.

Yes, every family needs a Nate to encourage the telling of stories, to eat them up with abandon.  Man, that kid is a delight.

Except that Nate’s also one of the most frustrating individuals I’ve ever met.  Every family needs a Nate to learn patience.  Getting him out the door for anything is only slighter better than a sharp stick in the eye.  He forgets what he needs to do next, constantly.  He’s been playing double headers every Sunday this fall.  Despite repeated reminders every week, something — like packing a snack — seems to somehow go undone, so there he is at a five or six hour event with nary a morsel to eat, and some weeks not even a water bottle.

When something funny happens to me, Nate is my very favorite person to tell.  His laugh is to die for.  What a joy to share my joys with this boy.  I thank God for him.  But I also thank God for him because he reminds me of how much I need God’s grace, how horribly impatient I can be, how irksome I can find things that I myself am prone to.

Do you have someone in your life that is a living, walking paradox?  Who reflects back at you your own paradoxical ways?  I think we all do, because all of us have Nate’s dual nature.  We are created in the very image of God.  But we are fallen.

Proverbs says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (19:11). 

Lord, thank you for giving Nate so many gifts and for an incredible personality.  Help me overlook his offenses.  Give me wisdom and patience as I mother these boys.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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