May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice! Proverbs 23:25 (NIV)
This morning, I woke up to find a present from youngest son on the kitchen counter. A small cactus with sharp needles and a sweet mother’s day card. The card read, “From Your Son on Mother’s Day. I hope that you will always know, Whatever I do, Wherever I go, there is one thing I will never outgrow… And that’s my love for you. Happy Mother’s Day.” It was signed with a PS “Be careful it’s very sharp.” While the words of the card made me smile at the thought of my great, big boy picking it out especially for me, the cactus made me laugh until I cried! Some moms will get orchids for Mother’s Day. Others receive roses. Still others will enjoy mums. But, a cactus from my boy is absolutely perfect. Because he was one tough cookie to raise and my heart was pierced countless times by despair over whether he would ever make it successfully to adulthood. There’s a needle there for the time that he was enraged that he needed a shot at the doctor’s office and picked up a chair in the waiting room and hurled it at me. One for the time that a church leader told me he was no longer welcome in a children’s club because of his misbehavior. Another for the same message this time delivered by a museum teacher at a summer camp. There was the time that he almost got expelled from school for hollowing out a paperback book and saying (he never made good on the threat) that it was to hide his knife he would bring to school. Or the time he got suspended from in school suspension. The time I was crying so hard over his misdeeds I backed into a light pole. The time when he set our kitchen table on fire or the time…well, you get the picture. In between all that, there were permanent marker lines on the walls, gouges in his dresser, holes in drywall from his fists, arrow points in the side of the house, and a broken window by the front door. I did not think he, or I, would survive to this day when he is mature enough to go and buy me a sweet card and tell me thank you for all I’ve done for him. Now, look at him: High School graduate, EMT, firefighter, lifeguard, three mission trips under his belt, Paramedic School on the horizon, a sweet girlfriend, lots of good friends, devoted to his family, particularly his grandparents. What more could a mom ask for? A cactus is a fine gift from a boy, now a man, who has always done things his own way, always thought outside the box and always had a tender heart hidden by a rough exterior. I’m thinking about putting some small colorful beads on each one of those cactus thorns. Just like youngest son’s life when God took a potentially ugly situation and turned it into something beautiful.
Couldn’t resist. Silly, I know, but…
To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor/ Isaiah 61:2-4 (NIV)