Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fixing things

Yesterday Little Guy had a meltdown at a playground. A couple of 18-month olds stepped on his carefully-constructed sand castle. He'd apparently asked them to stop, but their nannies felt the sand box was for babies, not for five year olds, and did not feel it necessary to redirect their charges to another part of the sandbox. One did ask Little Guy if he wanted help re-building his castle, but he was so upset he told her, "Stop annoying me!" I had to take him out of the sandbox and spend 15 minutes calming him down.

Thought #1 on fixing things: You have to let other people help you.
Thought #2: It's hard to fix anything when you're upset.

Moms want to fix a lot of things for their kids, and on days when there are loud and messy public scenes, we want to just plain fix our kids. Quick tempers, bad manners, inappropriate responses, over-sensitivities, moodiness, self-centeredness; we want to resolve whatever we see as our kids' obstacles to a happy and productive life.

It ain't easy. To some degree, it's not always even possible. I was talking to a neighbor the other day whose son has significant anxiety issues, but her husband has Stage Four cancer, and they don't have enough money (or free time) to get the kid to therapy. "He's just going to have to pay for therapy himself when he's 30," the woman said. Then she added, "Assuming he makes it that far."

I know that feeling.

It's beyond frustrating to know what needs to be done, yet to be unable to do it. On the other hand, we can become so fixated on fixing that we end up thinking we need to repair the cross rather than embrace it. Then we start to think of God as the Master Fixer, rather than the Master of the Universe. If I can't make it better, we reassure ourselves, that's okay -- God can. Certainly He can, but in His infinite wisdom He may choose to say no. Way too many prayers, including my own, are of the "make this trial go away" variety, as if the point of life (and proof of faith) is to be comfortable and stress-free.

There's nothing wrong with asking God to make a problem go away, so long as the Take this cup from me is followed with Not my will, but Thine, be done. Whatever responsibility we have to fix things has to be balanced with humility, and acceptance that what we want isn't the only factor being considered.

No comments:

Post a Comment