The boy has a home, yet he’s homeless.
He sits at my parent’s dining room table with long, gangly legs resting on another chair in front of him. This is the most relaxed I’ve seen him.
When he glances my way, his eyes bleed wariness, like he doesn’t trust me and surprisingly I see myself; my 17-year-old self.
Time seems stuck and I crack peanuts on the counter, wishing I knew what to say to him, but I don’t, so we chit-chat instead about his plans for the day, about when he’s going to the gym, about his sister who’s living in Africa.
The tone of his voice tells me she’s the preferred child, or at least he feels that way and I dream of telling his parents a few things; dream of telling them something from a former rebellious boy unwilling to listen to my parents and to God and just so awfully tired of trying to be who my parents wanted me to be.
“Imagine a marionette,” I’d tell them, sinking into their couch. “You know, the puppet controlled by strings.”
“Right now, your son is floundering. Unwilling to listen to you, unwilling to listen to God, he’s at the end of those strings just swinging his feet and trying to find his footing. And all he needs at this point is for you to stop lecturing, stop the disapproving looks, stop noticing his faults. Let go of the strings you try to manipulate your son with. Better yet, hand them over to God. All you need to do, all your child wants you to do, is just to hold him tight. Notice the good, focus on the improvement, hold your arm around him with love… and when your son is steady, God will start to move the strings from above. Because when Heaven reaches for Earth, and when Earth reaches for Heaven, everything changes. Never doubt that.”
“I was just like your son,” I’d tell them, “I was so tired of always being told and I remember the night like it was yesterday, when my mom came down to my room in the basement and she was crying. And how she admitted she didn’t have the answers anymore; that she didn’t feel like a good parent and felt God was asking her to apologize to me. And would I forgive her?”
“It was all so new to me, and I remember the way I wrapped my arms around her and we cried and completely forgot about praying but there we were, just two of God’s children, limping out of the darkness toward the Light.”
“Your son just needs you to join him in the darkness.”
I dream of saying these things so I leave the cracked peanuts on the counter and find a pen and paper, instead, and scribble them to you.