When I asked Mancub if he’d talked to God about his feelings on Watergirl moving away, he replied, “Not really. I’m kind of mad at him right now.”
“Why are you mad at God for this? He’s not making her family move.”
“Yes he is,” he explained. “He’s calling them to do a church plant and they have no choice but to do it.”
“God is tough enough to handle a bit of anger.”
Wow. This isn’t a difficult conversation at all, is it?
So we prayed together for a bit. I have to admit I don’t pray with him very much, and as a family we don’t spend enough time praying together. I experience a sort of anxiety when asked to pray out loud, probably because I’m intimidated by those who pray so well. You know the type, they are able to in a second’s notice create sheer poetry when asked to lead the prayer.
When I pray out loud it sounds something like this:
“Dear God, we just thank you for this day and for this time together. Please heal Mr. Smith’s bad hip so he can continue to play racquetball. In Jesus name, Amen.”
I’m a writer folks. Give me a pen and I can write a pretty prayer, but it doesn’t always translate verbally. This made me feel guilty (yet again) about how I’m raising my kid. I let him see me angry at traffic, frustrated from work, laughing at bad television–so it’s definitely a problem if I don’t let him see me pray. And if I don’t teach him how.
If I teach him to open doors for women, how to cook a cheese sandwich, but not how to pray, how am I preparing him for life? I’m not.
The University of Notre Dame recently conducted a study regarding teenagers and their views on faith and God. One of the main purposes of the study was to update findings which were deemed outdated. It’s pretty interesting and I plan on taking it apart bit by bit to see what it means for Mancub and our family.
“Drink my lord…I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking,” Rebekah, daughter of Laban
Abraham was an old man, far too old to go tromping around to find his precious son Isaac a wife, and he didn’t want Isaac to choose a woman from the hood (especially the Canaanites). So he sent Eliezer, his most trusted servant to do the job. He took with him ten camels loaded with gifts. In our day, we would expect perhaps some top quality Apple products, but they didn’t have those back then.
Eliezer sat next to a well and prayed that the Lord would guide him and send the perfect wife for Isaac. He even had a test in mind.
When Rebekah showed up, she was true to her name, which has been connected to “a hitching place” or one who ensnares–possibly by her looks (Rockyer 135). This is supposed to be a compliment, or at least I think so. The bible describes Rebekah as “beautiful, a virgin” and when she came to the well (some translations say “spring”) with her jar, a servant hurried up to her and asked for a drink from her jar.
“Drink my lord,” she kindly said. Then she drew water for the camels as well. It was then that Eliezer felt confirmation that this was God’s chosen wife for his precious Isaac.
What touches me most about this story is that Rebekah wasn’t out to impress anyone. The man who approached her was clearly a servant, and even though her gender was not recognized as equal, it’s clear that Rebekah was no pauper. She had nothing to gain by pausing in the heat of the day to help this man. And she took the extra step by watering all those nasty camels. Underneath that lovely ensnaring exterior beat the heart of a servant.
Lord, please give me a servant’s heart. Let me not be too selfish to see someone in need and walk away. Open my eyes to the need around me and give me courage and a servant’s heart to help.
Have you ever thought of teaching Stephen King to college students? During my graduate work, I took an amazing class taught by Dr. Karen Sloan called American Gothic. It was one of my favorite classes of all time because it’s just right up my alley. I took it concurrently with Dr. Ross’s British Gothic and I learned so much about the roots of horror. Here’s 5 reasons why I teach “1408” in my English composition class.
1. It’s a great example of a short, well-written horror story that perfectly fits the Contemporary Gothic genre. King is the master of horror, and as much as I would like to teach an entire novel (The Shining, Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile would be great to dissect!), I just don’t have enough time in a composition class to cover it.
2. It’s a perfect King bite. A bit scary, but not too scary for the faint of heart and those who hate horror. “1408” is a delicious sample, like the ones they give away at Sam’s Club on Saturdays. I might not really WANT to buy a whole lasagna, but a bite or two is perfect!
3. I love surprising students with King’s literary depth. Many people underestimate King’s writing–even he does–as simple, popular mass market paperback books. Not so. They are chock full of well-crafted characters, action-packed plots and quotable lines. His works are so much more.
4. If there’s a literary device I want to teach (symbolism, foreshadowing, point of view, unreliable/reliable narrators), I have a full arsenal in “1408.” It’s densely packed with everything I need in less than 30 pages, and students who balk at traditionally taught literature seem to be more open to the Kingster. Yes, I just called him that.
5. Reading “1408” automatically gives me an excuse to watch John Cusack at his best. Enough said.
I refer to my teenaged son as Mancub–I have for a couple of years now, since he started (and hasn’t stopped) growing and is now currently 6’4 MAN who, since he is only 15–still a cub. Get it? Which easily makes me Mama Bear, which also fits.
When Mancub fell in love, I was thinking about it and it totally made sense. Watergirl! Who can resist? She’s pretty, sweet, a hard worker, and captivated Mancub with her very first blink.
They have been together for almost 10 months now, which you know in teen years is pretty long. Heck, for some adults that’s pretty long. They are super cute together and very best friends.
It’s with a breaking heart that I share this with you. Watergirl is moving away. And not just to Longview but to a little town outside of Seattle. Her sweet family are taking on a church plant up there and really feel that God is calling them. Understandably both Watergirl and Mancub are struggling with what this all means. I know I’m struggling to know how to help him get through it, and it’s heartbreaking for all those involved.
Is it crazy to say that I’m almost as sad as they are? It’s true. The brief interactions I’ve had with Watergirl’s family have been only positive–and no matter what they are having to deal with they handle it with prayer and a grateful heart. It’s true that though I don’t know them very well, I have been inspired by their spiritual walk–and they have had some pretty tough trials. I have to think it’s pretty unusual for a teenage boy’s mom to like her son’s girlfriend as much as I do. I’ve even had brief thoughts of trying to keep her and letting her move in with us, like Roseanne let David move in. I know that’s not going to happen, but I just want you to know how sweet this little girl is. If Watergirl is any indication of the deep faith I see there, then all I can say is that family is the real deal.
So, so sorry to see you leave, Watergirl. Please visit Mancub (and me) soon.
Your Mancub’s Mama.