Today I learned a valuable lesson. Its about forgiveness, and living with the consequences of sin.
Where did I learn it? In my kitchen.
Who did I learn it from? My five-year-old son.
Thursday evenings have turned out to be a rare family day at the Mills house. It is the first day since Sunday that we don't have something scheduled in the evening. It is a time for playing Frisbee in the backyard and spontaneity. Now that the weather is improving, it is time for impromptu trips to Budges. Delicious ice cream. Cheap and nearby.
Today after some backyard baseball and hamburgers on the grill, Everette got a hankering for Budges. Jonathan was in rare form at dinner, a little squirmy, but starving. He pounded down a burger and salad with minimal prompting. It was looking good for some delicious creamy soft serve, and a gallon of pellet ice. I was getting excited. There was no threats or nagging at dinner. We all pitched in to get the dishes cleared from the table.
We were feeling lightness of spring. I was just grabbing a sweatshirt to join my boys in the van. I could taste the delicious vanilla chocolate dipped cone already. And then I heard it. The unmistakable cry of my melodramatic son. In that moment, I knew our trip to Budges was over before it begun.
Everette and Jonathan, The Iron-willed Mills, had battled a round, and Jonathan had lost. As it should be. When raising your children, it is right that the son should lose to the Father.
The struggle was asinine. As it always is. Jonathan wanted to bring his wiffle bat in the car to use as an electric guitar. Daddy said, "no."
Daddy said, "give me the bat." Jonathan said, "no"
Daddy said, "give me the bat, or else." Jonathan started throwing a fit.
And that is how Mommy lost her ice cream.
As the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over the lost ice cream continued, I struggled to maintain my inner peace and my reservoir of patience was nearly dry. I was mad. Mad at my husband, because who really cares if Jonathan brings his wiffle bat, and do we really have to be the parents that "follow through" when ice cream is on the line? Mad at my son, because dad gum it, why can't he just do what we say! We're the boss, he is not.
So while Everette and Jonathan are outside again, the consolation prize and relationship restoration, I am sitting in the house pouting. It just isn't fair.
This got me thinking about a few things.
1. I realized that this is only the beginning. It wasn't the first time I personally, would suffer the consequences of Jonathan's sin. And it won't be the last. This time the stakes were only ice cream. What if next time it's something higher. Like my pride. Or my personal property. Or something worse.
2. It isn't just a one way street. Jonathan will likely suffer the consequences of my sin. And certainly Everette does. And I'm sure if I thought for any minute more, I would quickly form a list of others who have suffered also.
My hope that in ten years when Jonathan is a raging hormonal teenager struggling to find his way, I will remember this lesson. And remember that he who has been forgiven much loves much, (Luke 7:47-paraphrase)
3. The last important thing, is to always keep some ice cream in the house for these kinds of situations.
peace love and wiffle balls