16 Jul it’s a good thing i’m not god
So, it’s a good thing I’m not God. Seriously.
I’m a good person. I have a kind heart, most of the time. I try to be a genuine friend. I’m a decent homemaker (I kiss better than I cook, and I have cleaners… so the bases are covered!) I’m no Mother Teresa, but I find ways to serve others. I am self-aware and have made a conscious decision to spend my adult life focusing more on the ‘board’ in my own eye, rather than the ‘speck’ in someone else’s… my church pals will get that one. What I mean is that I am busy learning myself, improving myself, and correcting myself. I want to refine my own character, because there is a ton of work needed. I have never felt it was my responsibility to govern others. I’m not a legalist. I am not an evangelist. I am nobody’s judge… and I’m certainly not a Young Gun, hollering “Regulators, mount up!” each time someone does something wrong. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!
That said, as a mother, all bets are off. Those guidelines no longer apply. It was my job to be the regulator, to be the guide, to parent my child and teach right from wrong. It was also my job to protect, shelter, and shield him from those who would do him harm. My responsibilities as a mother didn’t end there… if there was something someone else needed to learn, I was happy to teach them. I wasn’t focused solely on the development of Mason’s character; I gladly offered my input on that of everyone in his life. For fourteen years, I did just that. I did my absolute best. I succeeded and failed and succeeded and failed… I made good decisions and bad ones, but most importantly, I loved my child every single one of those 5,221days. There are some who will never understand or approve of my version of motherhood, but thankfully, I don’t allow the opinions of critics to determine my worth.
Here’s the truth: no matter how much I loved my boy, he still got hurt on occasion. No matter how much I tried to fill his life with loving friends and sane family, at times he still felt abandoned. I know this is just part of life, and the wounds we invariably suffer actually help to form our characters. My mind gets how it works, but when it comes to Mason, my heart wanted to shield him from ALL OF IT. I so desperately want to rewrite Mason’s story and give it a new ending! I want to start from scratch, pick up a blank storyboard, create an alternate path, and orchestrate a few different movements. His ‘last day’ would disappear into a string of average days or fun days or boring days… not particularly memorable ‘cause it would have just been another ‘day in the life’ – right?!!? If only I had the power to do that for him.
If I was God, I could.
That’s right. I just said that. If I was God, Mason wouldn’t have died. There would be nothing to rewrite. No one to save. You wouldn’t be reading this blog because I wouldn’t have a story to tell. I’d be shmuvvering my boy, too busy living to write about depressing things like death and grief. If I was God, this absolute robbery would NEVER have taken place. Mason would be alive and well and running his mama’s world. Mase would still be a leader among his peers, a counselor to his friends! To his teachers, he’d still be that delightful aberration from the norm, and a welcomed interruption to an otherwise uneventful day. (One teacher wrote to me that Mason always made her laugh, every day, without fail. Another teacher told me that Mason wanted to know if her Hello Kitty vans came in his size. Yet another teacher mentioned that even as Mason was sent out of the room so she could “get thru the lesson,” he turned back and said to her with a cheeky grin “you know you’re gonna laugh!”)
I’m proud of the son I raised and his unique ability to make everyone feel special. He loved people for who they were, and recognized them individually. He always wanted people to be given a second chance. He was an advocate for fairness, he stuck up for his friends, & he defended the underdogs! He connected with my friends, individually, and built unique friendships with each of them. One of my friends commented on this as people gathered for his memorial service… she mentioned that when she was with Mason, she always felt like she was the 2nd most important person in his life (his other mother). She was actually surprised to realize there were more! Another friend has always told me about her private conversations with Mason, and how he shared some things “just with her.” I don’t want to lessen the value of those experiences, but it does make me chuckle to think of how many people he touched. You know what that tells me? Mason knew how to make people feel special. He created those unique experiences with everyone, and they were genuine. Man, I am proud of that kid. Is it okay if I say that twice?!?!
I wish I could have my boy back, but as much as I want that, I recognize that it’s a good thing I’m not God… here’s why: I’m not qualified, or reliable, or consistent, or holy… I am human, and I am completely dangerous. It’s not enough that I try to be a good person. It’s not sufficient that I endeavor to be a loyal, caring friend. Nope. That’s only a tiny slice of me. I have ugly characteristics too… I have anger, resentment, and a deep rooted need for revenge. Remember when I told you I have enough to work on within myself…? This is what I meant.
In my quiet moments alone, I sometimes think of the people who failed my son. I get angry. I don’t mean irritated or resentful or pissy. I mean angryyyy… boiling hot, fiery mad, livid, seething, and vicious. Mothers will identify with this feeling. (Yes, there is a difference between mothers’ love and fathers’ love. That’s a topic for another day.) I think of the many opportunities people had to connect with Mason, build relationship with him, encourage him, love him… and I think of the ugliness he faced and the absences he forgave. Grandparents who attempted to sue for rights, but neglected to pursue relationship. An uncle who sent a gift card once in three years, but never made a phone call. A father who was forgiven after 13 years of absence, yet chose to abandon Mason, twice. Youth pastors who are PAID to love the unlovable, yet couldn’t find time to make a simple phone call. Yeah, I could swim in this pool of anger. I could spend a lifetime diving in again and again, and bathe in my resentments.
I’m not done. I think of the kindnesses I extended at Mason’s memorial service to people who had abandoned my child. I included them in the celebration of his journey, regardless of their choices to be absent from his actual life. I think of the ones who still play victim, spreading their lies, and making their excuses. They make me sick. They deserve no kindness. They have used up every last ounce of my mercy, and I am thankful to be released from future interactions. They should feel thankful too.
Is it terrible to admit that? Is it so awful that I have real, visceral anger toward people who take and take but never give? Ohhhhh it is a good thing that I’m not God. See how ugly I am? I don’t need to spell out what I would do, or how things would be different, but we all know I wouldn’t just prevent Mason’s death. There are a handful of people on this earth who definitely benefit from the fact that I have limitations. And THAT brings me back to why I am busy dealing with myself, and not handing out judgments.
What good does it do to hold on to anger? I firmly believe it is permissible to feel it, but it is not beneficial to live with it. Make sense? I’ve just given you a glimpse, a snippet of what I feel. I still want you to like me so I won’t show you the true depth of what I think in my ugliest moments. I know I don’t have to, because we are all the same. You have your hit list. You have your resentments, your wounds, and your pool of anger too. Our stories contain different elements, but the general theme is the same. It’s a good thing you are not God, right?
So what do we do? What do I do? I ask that question every day. What do I do????? I have no idea.
What I know to be true is this: God’s ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts. I do not see the big picture, but I’m committed to seeking it out for the rest of my life. One day, I’ll know. One day, I’ll see. Until then, I need to let it go… Each and every time that anger rears its ugly head, I have a choice to make. Live with it or let it go? Again. Live with it or let it go? I am choosing to see my offenders with different eyes, just as I hope people I offend will choose to see me.
Yeah, it’s a good thing I’m not God. For that, we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief.