The other day, my son came home with a sad story of a young man he knows. This young man has likely the hardest life experiences my son has encountered among his peers, so far. As he related his new friend's life-story to The Boss and I, my mind was racing. My heart was breaking. I could see the sorrow in my son's eyes. I could hear it in his voice. I was immediately transported back to a similar conversation with my own mother regarding the brokenness I was starting to recognize in my own group of friends back in high school. There were actually many of these conversations in the years I lived at home.After all, brokenness is everywhere around us. We see pain every single day, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Whether we choose to be involved with it or not.
As I listened to my son, I couldn't help but feel a bit of pride for his response to the experience and his response to his friend. He admitted that his first instinct is to step up and figure out how to help his friend fix the various scenarios related in their conversation. But just as quickly, he admitted that he knows there is nothing he can do to fix anything. That his friend, in many ways, is just as powerless to fix the situations he must endure. It's not a comfortable position for this son to face; he is much like his dad in that way.
We listened to his heart coming through the conversation and I couldn't help but think what a treasure it is: that he gets to come home to us and share what he experiences. And what a blessing it is that he can have these first glimpses into the brokenness of the world in which we live while he is still home with us, his safety net. What a privilege that is, to be able to provide that for our child.
It was such a good reminder to me, that our kids are faced everyday with such hard, painful, broken circumstances all around us. We have to be intentional about creating a safe place for them to unload the hurt and learn how to surrender it while learning that they likely will never be the ones to fix it. We can't take that lightly - no matter what environment our kids face each day, they will encounter broken people. Some have gaping wounds and are hemorrhaging fast. Some have tiny cuts and scratches and walk around feeling bruised all the time. Some have internal bleeding that no one catches until it seems as if it is too late. And sometimes, our kids, our kids who have healthy, loving, safe homes are the only ones to whom these broken people will turn.
Being the "mom" that I am, I made sure my son knew that this friend was welcome in our home and at our dinner table, should that be a need we could meet together. Then I asked him how he left things with his friend. He said that really all he could do was listen and accept his story. And then he said the thing that made me tear up. He said, "I just finally asked him how I could pray for him.There isn't really anything else I can do."
And that my friends, is really what it is all about. THAT, my friends, is what we are to be doing ourselves. While I know that there was a certain amount of frustration in my son's heart at the lack of action to be taken on behalf of this friend, I also know that he is learning a crucial life lesson. We cannot fix the broken around us. We cannot. But we can pray. And we can leave them in the hands of The One who mends broken hearts. We can give them our love, our acceptance, our support, our help. But for true healing, for true repair, we are powerless. Until we pray.
Today, our church family launches a 21-day season of prayer and fasting. This conversation with my son will be ringing in my ears for the whole 21 days. I have many things I want to see God do in me over these three weeks. I cannot make any of these things happen. I cannot move the mountains in my life, nor in the lives of those that I love. But I can pray. And so I will. I'm planning for these next three weeks of posts to be my reflections on that journey. I'd love for you to share your heart and your experiences as I reflect on what God is saying during this time.