Not so long ago we had a tough year in our house. We had teens that were struggling, but who were not talking to us about it. The result was that one got into a pretty big mess and pulled others into it, as well. I won’t go into detail because it’s not my journey, although as the parents, we were greatly affected. For a few months, I was receiving phone calls from concerned parents, relaying information that I did not know about my child; details that made me question if I had ever known this person at all. There were nights when I would walk past my teen’s closed door, on the way to bed, and not want to stop. I just wanted to let it slide for a night. But each night I would knock, and go in and face the truth. After a time of confrontations, confessions and consequences the behavior eventually was back on track, and I am happy to say that we have all come out of this stronger, and closer than we were before.
I don’t think I realized how hard it had been for us until recently I received a phone call from one of those parents and when I saw who it was, I froze. Questions and accusations came screaming at me all over again, I did not want to know, I did not want to answer that call. But I did answer, and it was a benign request for a fundraiser. I could barely speak I was so relieved and I sobbed after we hung up. It occurred to me that I had been holding myself very tightly for months, just waiting for another call.
Hard things come when we don’t expect them, and rarely do they go away quickly. It’s bad enough when it’s the result of our own mistakes, but when it’s your child, it can feel particularly hopeless and very isolating. I’m not writing this to bring attention to my child, but to the fact that we all make mistakes sometimes. The best that we can do is pray, drawing closer to God as we hand over the issue, and continue to do the hard things.