Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)
By JoAnne Potter
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Only twice have I seen David show real fear. The first time, he was almost two and falling down the stairs. Then, I had only to thrust my arms out in time to catch him before he hit bottom, pat him a few times until we both understood he was unhurt, set him back on his little feet, and send him on his way. The second time was today, twenty years later, and he was falling again.
I had no words for this situation. I’d used them all already.
“Go slow, David.”
“Love is not a feeling, David. It’s a commitment.”
“You don’t know her yet, David. Give it time.”
No, there was nothing to say. I closed my eyes, turned around, and put one heavy foot in front of the other.
“Mom, stop. Mom, please wait.” David pushed past to block my way.
“Mom, I’m sorry. Please come back. We need to talk.”
“We’ve already talked.”
He hung his head. “Mom, we can’t do this. No…I can’t do this. Dad told me to be strong and lead. I’m trying, but when I get around Rachel, I just lose my head.” Something caught in his throat. “Please help.”
“I can’t. We’ve already told you what to do. If you can’t do it, back off. You have already gone too far and you know it. If you really want to do this right, then you’ll tell Rachel to come to the house tonight, and you’ll walk out with me right now.”
Neither of us spoke on the way home. When we got there, he lingered a long time in the car, shoulders slumped and shuddering. I watched only a moment from the window. I’d comforted the crying boy many times. Today, the man must weep alone.
Eventually, the front door closed behind him and he stood drawn up in the middle of the room, chin steady and shoulders square.
“Mom, you’re right. Rachel and I are in way over our heads. Self-control is part of love and we need to learn it. From now on, she and I will not be alone together anywhere. We will do whatever it takes to conduct ourselves righteously before God and win back your trust. If she doesn’t agree, well, maybe she isn’t the one for me after all.”
I looked down to make sure my hands still hung at my sides. They did. I could do nothing when David fell today, and still he landed safely. Arms much stronger than mine had caught him this time.
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