Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TRIP (10/18/18)
TITLE: Taken For A Ride
By Linda Lawrence
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My husband had always enjoyed his children and missed them greatly. I, on the other hand, enjoyed having a quiet, orderly, clean nest — so much easier to maintain without our son and daughter’s debris — and did not miss the messes at all.
The memory of a particular incident traveled with me to Oregon and troubled me in my empty nest. It was a Sunday morning. My husband was out of town. I left the house early to attend Sunday School, the fellowship hour, and the worship service. Looking forward to a quiet Sabbath afternoon, I returned home to find the kitchen filled with dirty dishes — stacks of them. Then I remembered. Sean’s Surfers for Christ.
During high school, Sean dropped out of our church’s youth group, feeling like he didn’t belong. But he found a place that became a second home to him - a surf shop owned by a young man who had a passion for surfing and for Jesus. Surfers For Christ drew a hungry crowd.
Sean and his friends met for Bible study on Sunday mornings, taking turns meeting in each other’s homes. This week was Sean’s turn, but I never expected this!
Dismayed at the thoughtlessness of Sean and his friends, I wondered if it ever crossed their mind what an impression they were making on the parents in the homes where they had their breakfast Bible studies, leaving such a mess.
I started to wash the dishes, muttering all the while, but stopped, believing I needed to teach Sean that this was not acceptable. He needed to clean the kitchen. However, he wasn’t there and I was and every time I passed the kitchen I got mad all over again. Finally, I just washed the dishes.
That evening Sean brought home one of his friends and I flew into him with my pent-up irritation. But he took all the wind out from beneath my ruffled feathers when he said, “The girls wanted to do the dishes, but I told them not to because you would want to do them — as part of your ministry.”
Oooh! Ouch! I carried that guilt and shame all the way to Oregon. I didn’t unpack that baggage for several years but stumbled over its memory.
Finally, a day came when I wrote Sean a letter, asking his forgiveness for embarrassing him in front of his friend, and apologizing for being so spiritually immature while he was trying to be hospitable on that memorable day, years back.
I’ll never forget Sean’s phone call when he received the letter. Laughing, he said, “Mom, there’s nothing to forgive. I was just a smart alec teenager giving you a guilt trip!”
Well, the long ride was over — at last.
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