Last week I was talking to a very close friend on the phone, and though I tried to dismiss the feeling several times, I felt urged to share with her a very personal and out-of-the-ordinary experience that I'd been dealing with. I thought she might react uncomfortably, but in fact, she didn't. She happened, even, to have a book that she thought might prove extremely useful and enlightening to me. She had loaned it to another friend, but said she would immediately go and get it and Express Mail it to me.
I was stunned. First of all, because I recognized that that my prompting to share this information with her was no coincidence, and secondly, because in our relationship, I'm the book friend. There was symbolism in that in every direction. And I am grateful whenever I pick up on those little cues in life.
The book was scheduled to be delivered by Monday at 3pm. Guaranteed. I didn't leave to go anywhere, besides my walk at 6am. It was all I could do to make it through the weekend so I could get my hands on this book. I waited, and I waited. Nothing. The mail usually comes around 3pm on Mondays, so hoping to get a Netflix DVD off in time, I went out to the mailbox at 1pm to stick it in there.
Only to find my mail had already been delivered, and on top, a little orange paper that said, "Sorry we missed you!"
What? No way I missed a knock on the door. And I was not waiting until tomorrow! When Conor woke up, I buckled him into his carseat and decided we would hunt down the mailman.
We combed the streets. No sign of him anywhere. Several streets over I saw a mail truck parked. So I waited in ambush. But an African-American mail carrier approached, and he is not my mail carrier. I questioned him anyway, but he gave me his best guess at the whereabouts of the probable location of the carrier for my area, and off he went.
I drove some more. No sign. I went to the post office, just in case he'd come back to drop off a load of 'undeliverables'. The kind woman checked for me, but no. He was still out there somewhere, and he still had my package with him. She told me he was a substitute carrier today, that my normal carrier was on vacation (Aha! Thus, the early delivery!) She also told me he was Asian, Vietnamese, to be exact. (Very helpful information in Los Angeles County). She gave me her approximation of his location and again I started my hunt.
One street over from her guess another mail truck was parked. Victory! I waited a good ten minutes, and then an Asian mail carrier approached from around the corner. Yes! I jumped out of my van and ran across the street to him waving my little orange card.
But no. Wrong Asian mail carrier.
However, when he saw my address, he did know the substitute mail carrier, and even his cell phone number! He called him (Dan, so you know), and told him I was looking for my Express Mail, and got his exact location. I thanked him profusely, and sped right over to the corner where he was.
Lo, and behold, Dan! He took my orange card, checked my ID, and gave me my package. I told him how important this package was to me and how I'd been waiting for it all day and was shocked that I hadn't heard the knock on the door. And then, he confessed that he hadn't knocked. It had looked from across the street that nobody was home, so he just left the card instead. Somebody didn't want me to have that book! (The lights are off because we live in 'Green L.A.' and are supposed to be conserving energy, you dope!) I looked at the clock just as it clicked from 2:59pm to 3:00. A postal miracle. Guaranteed delivery, alrighty.
I raced home, ripped open the package, and began to read immediately. Answers! Information! Truth, even!
I had to stop reading to teach piano lessons, play with Conor, clean up this and that, make dinner, etc. Oh, and go look for something in one of the kids' bedrooms.
And that's when my heart broke. It's only happened to me a few times, but I found something in one of the kids' belongings that really tore me up. Some written things (not in a journal) that filled me with great concern for my child. I immediately visualized my confrontation with the child. But then, a sweet and loving voice whispered a different perspective into my mind, something I hadn't first thought of. It gave me comfort, but still I was filled with concern. So, I began to pray to know how to handle the situation. What should I say? What should I do?
With that episode in the background of my mind, I was still stealing time away to devour this book that had arrived and that was giving me fresh insight into this other experience that I was dealing with. (sorry to be so vague! The details of all of this are so incredible, but also so personal, on both accounts.) All of a sudden, it seemed to me, the tone of the book changed and there was a paragraph that seemed oddly out of place. In fact, I've gone back to look for it, page by page and can't find it again. I'm sure it's there somewhere, but still. I'll have to paraphrase.
It said something like, "When someone you love is in need of correction, but is old enough to know right from wrong, giving them correction will usually only breed resentment. Still, the need for correction remains, and must be dealt with. Instead, give love. Unconditional love, free flowing love. Love that can exist for a person while at the same time feelings of disgust or disappointment can exist for an act or behavior. Their conscience will correct them and the change will be lasting."
It was better than that, but that's what is in my memory. Instead of correction (confrontation, lecturing, punishing), try love. This child of mine is indeed old enough to know right from wrong, and in fact the little whispers I initially heard were pointing out to me that the very thing breaking my heart was evidence that this child was already suffering the guilt of doing wrong. This child needs love. This child needs to be reminded of some tools, there for all of us, when we have gone astray and are wracked with guilt and sorrow.
How timely that at the moment of my heartache and indecision, I had also been sent the information that I needed, thinking that I only needed it for a different set of problems. Isn't God so wise? He is the best multi-tasker there is. And to think I almost had to wait a whole other day!
I am learning. Listen to the promptings. Follow them. He is the source of healing. And also, He loves my children even more than I do and He knows what they need. My best bet at parenthood is partnership with Him.
The rest? I give it all to Him. And listen.
He guarantees delivery of all that I need.