Miles called me back to his bedroom.
"I'm right in the next room, what are you scared about?"
"Remember that guy with the slurpy tongue? That big guy who ate up people by slurping them in the cave?"
"No, I don't remember that. I don't know what you're talking about, but if you feel scared, why don't you talk to God about it, ask Him to take those thoughts away so you can sleep."
A few minutes later, I'm back to sorting through piles and piles of paperwork, and from the monitor I hear, "GOD, GIVE ME A CHANCE HERE AND MAKE.ME.STOP.THINKING.THAT. UUUGGGHHHH!"
I feel a tinge of recognition, a pain in my heart. I can relate to his frustration and fear.
Moments after that, he's calling me back to his room again. He tells me (with his exasperated-I'm-trying-to-sound-like-a-grown-up-voice) that God is not listening to him. He says God won't take away the scary thoughts.
Then the words just poured from me and I found myself standing there talking to my boy and myself about something very important.
"You have to do your part, Miles."
I went on and attempted to explain that God can give him the strength, but he needs to make a choice to think about something else too. He needs to decide to think a different way, like maybe about Curious George, something good or funny.
Oh, how I too want a magic wand experience with God. World peace - Pazow! An end to world hunger - Whamo! Healing for the sick- Kaboom! Overcoming my own demons - DONE! Patience and peace with a touch of a zen-like state - YOU GOT IT! BOOM! Money tree - IT'S YOURS!
Maybe it works that way sometimes, and I'm sure that's awfully nice. But for the most part, I think it's a two-way street. To be honest, most of the time I wish it were not. I don't want to have to do anything but believe. I want to sit back and watch goodness come from my wanting of it.
Then I remember what would be lacking.
If God always responded with immediate relief, the relationship and refinement that comes with doing my part would disappear. When I listen, when I pick myself up and do what I know I need to do, I finally take a good look at those purposes.
What we're working on here, together, is my heart.
I haven't been doing that lately. I'm standing in doorways and preaching to my child, but then on the other side of the wall I am fists tight and a stomping foot. I am shouting, "GOD, GIVE ME A CHANCE HERE AND MAKE.ME.STOP.THINKING.THAT. UUUGGGHHHH!"
I see the child that I am standing there, and I know I've got work to do. I just don't really feel like doing my part.
What amazes me is that my heart continues to grow and change despite myself, ever so very slowly, even when I don't want to try.
Miles somehow accepted my advice without an argument or a sound. He was sitting up, shoulders slumped in the dark and after hearing what he needed to do, he let himself fall back to his pillow. To try again. To rest.
Sometimes that's all we can do.