Little feet repetitiously pound down the hall above.
I lose count of how many times I track mine going back up only to meet my son at the top of the steps with yet another excuse as to why he’s out of bed.
He wants his tenth hug.
It’s getting incredibly late.
He needs a toy.
He forgot to tell us something important.
I argue with my wife about who’s turn it is this time to take him back to bed. I try to convince her I am more tired than she and that I have to wake up early for work the next day.
Then the foot steps come again. Only two hours till a new day.
I ferociously scale the steps in an attempt to stop him in his tracks yet again. Towering over him I withhold nothing from my tongue. Every last thread of self control is no more.
Frustration and anger that I unleash upon this small newly potty trained boy, my precious son, I do not withhold.
There he is standing at the top of the stairs. Glassy eyed from tiredness he is crying saying, “I have to go potty…” With my demanding bellowing voice, that is sure to wake the neighbors, echoing throughout the house I ‘order’ him to the bathroom.
Barely half awake he loses his self-control and it flows across the floor. In my wretched compassionless anger I shame him. I unleash more impatience. More reckless words upon my first born son.
With no shame.
I clean him up and the mess that was.
I return to face the hollow stare from across the couch.
She has no words for me. Either out of disbelief for what had just come out of me or maybe it was the loss of any respect she had for me was gone in that instance.
The guilt and shame begin to set in.
What kind of dad am I that I should treat my son like this. The one whom I prayed for, the one I had begged God for, the one who I jumped for joy from within when she told me the news. Yet here I am the one who should bare all the shame for what I had just done, not my son.
Time passes and I apologize to him. I let him know how sorry I was for talking to him the way I did and that I love him dearly. As always, he happily forgives me with such unquestionable ease.
It all seems to simple to receive forgiveness from him, my son. Because from Him, my creator, I feel like I can’t be forgiven. There has to be something, some form of penance that could ease my guilt and my shame.
There I stand with nothing. It seems to easy to receive forgiveness.
How do I treat an innocent child with such dishonor because of my own depravity and be forgiven and loved from the One on high?
The pain that sears from this memory is vivid. I lose my own control of emotions through tears as he had lost his from his bladder. And so here we both are together, feeling unjustified shame. For shame does not come from my Father as I had given to my son. There is abounding grace from Him. I have received forgiveness both from my son and my Father. And I am thankful. Gratefully and humbly thankful.
I kiss him and tell him again that I love him always and hope that it covers my shortcomings.
They seem endless. I often sense that I constantly have to say sorry more times than I would like to admit. I feel sorry for saying sorry so much! The shortcoming and screw ups will certainly never end.
But I wonder if that is how God intends it? After all if we could get our act together and fix things ourselves then we might not need Him.
On the contrary, if I never failed over and over again then I would surely miss out on his grace that he gives me over and over again!
I look upon my son, my sweet, affectionate and passionate son. And I make a promise to myself. A promise to always love him and give him grace just as my Father in heaven gives me grace so that I can love him well.
“keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
Whenever I climb my steps I remember that night and I count the times my Father has been gracious to me. So in turn I share the graces with my son, how imperfectly they may be.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9