As I completed my blog series on my dad and his emotional problems which started with The Battle For The Mind, I found that it really was a lot more difficult to write about than I first anticipated. The picture from my final post (Beauty From Ashes) haunted me as seeing him like that was not how I wanted to remember him. Yet fact is fact.
Another fact is that we have a choice in how we look at things. Unfortunately my husband will tell you that often my habit is to look at a glass as 1/2 empty instead of 1/2 full – an issue that I’m working on changing!
I came across a journal entry about our son Jeffrey’s birthday when he was turning 9 years-old which fits in with the thought-pattern I outlined above.
Our normal family routine on his birthday was to take him out to dinner at any restaurant he chose. He loved to go out to eat, and loved it when the food-servers would sing a “happy birthday” song to him and give him a huge dessert to finish off the meal.
But this year he threw a wrench at us by telling us that he wanted a “kid” party and chose a local pizza place that he asked for it to be held in.
Immediately my 1/2-empty glass started diminishing. Oh-oh, how was this going to work out? Would the kids come? However we didn’t want to dissuade him, so we told Jeffrey he could invite 10 kids to join him at the pizza party – and that he got to choose who he wanted to invite.
He started naming off the kids he wanted to ask, but the more he spoke the emptier my glass became… I didn’t recognize the names of most of the kids, and the 3 kids that usually paid attention to Jeffrey at school weren’t even on the list!
My fears were confirmed when I found out that the kids he named were the “popular” kids at school, but none of them had ever paid attention to Jeffrey.
I had asked for an RSVP, but as the day drew nearer, not one of them had given any sort of reply! I was starting to fret. What were we going to do – Jeffrey was going to be crushed!
I quickly got out 3 more invitations to the kids who usually played with him, and thankfully 1 of the 3 ended up coming. But still – what kind of a party would it be with just him and Jeffrey?
Then I remembered another family with 4 boys that had come alongside Jeffrey previously, and after a quick phone call to their mom, they agreed to come – phew!
The day of the party came, and little Jeffrey was besides himself with excitement. We arrived early, and got to the long table they had set up for him with all sorts of balloons, and then waited. As time went on I could see on Jeffrey’s face sadness as he had still been hoping for the other kids to come. And of course my heart was breaking…
Yet we sang happy birthday and made the best of it that we could, me making excuses for the other kids that “something must have just come up and they just forgot to call.” And yes, my glass was almost completely empty by then!
The next day was Sunday, and we got ready for church. Jeffrey “seemed” to be over the disappointment of the previous day, for which Gary and I were thankful. However I was still having a hard time forgiving the kids he had invited who had failed to even call to say “no.” Actually I was more upset at their parents – was it not just common courtesy to let people know their kids wouldn’t be coming?
However God knows our pain and tears, and He is always faithful to His children – even when we’re not faithful to Him! His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and He knew exactly what Jeffrey needed to again put a smile on his face (yes, mine too)!
As we went to pick Jeffrey up after his Sunday school class he was just beaming. On his wheelchair was tied a great big birthday balloon that one of his Sunday school teachers had surprised him with, and a precious young gal who was volunteering in his class had made his day by paying extra attention to him.
To make the day even better? Later that afternoon we went over to Jeffrey’s cousins’ house and when the kids (and dads) went out back to the backyard patio to play basketball, they included Jeffrey in their game!
My cup was starting to fill up…