Standing in the way of a life


    “Give me back my life,” my 20-year-old son said to me.
    I remember the jolt I felt and thought, oh no. He might make a mess of his life. Talk about a rude awakening and a person who was in the way of her child. I needed to see my wrong thinking and what I was doing, but at the time I couldn’t even see there might be a problem.
    Another rude awakening came to me again. This time in a dream. It was over 20 years ago when I learned I was the problem.
    I had a dream that shook me to my core. Today, it’s still as visual as when it came to me in the middle of the night.
    My son stood in the pouring rain, wet and drowning in a large ravine. I stood in the doorway yelling to him, “Come in. Come in. You’re getting wet.” He couldn’t budge.
    The more I yelled, the further he sank into despair. I was in a state of panic. I kept yelling. I could see him drowning, but I couldn’t do anything about it.
    The next morning, I wondered what the dream meant. I heard a voice from within me say, “He couldn’t get in out of the rain because you wouldn’t let him come in. You were standing in the doorway.”
    It was the beginning of seeing something very wrong that needed to be corrected in me in order to save this poor child. A person I loved more than life itself was drowning in what I thought was good intentions, well meaning and even love. Yet, I was the one who was standing in his way. I saw the problem. I was steeped in religion and law without grace.
    When I put down the weapons of judgment and religion and accepted God’s grace, my son came home. No judgment, just thankfulness with grace for both of us. God changed me as he was changing my son to fit into his place in the family again.
    I recently said to my friend, “A person might cause another person’s downfall by standing in their way and placing certain expectations on them. How can anyone fight God when a person says, ‘Its God’s will?’”
    My friend asked me to explain what I meant.
    I emphasized that we use God to declare our own dogma and will even bring condemnation on someone else, knowing or unknowingly. God help us all. A person will loom so big in their thinking it won’t allow them to think or know their worth.
    I could name many people in family, business or life. For instance, a person can be lodged into a certain dogma — legalism or judgment or just plain old stubbornness.
    I saw a writers’ group go down hill because a leader wouldn’t listen to the rest of the group. I saw a mother change the direction of her family members. I saw a church topple because of a leader’s stubbornness.
    I found when I changed in what I thought was gospel truth and stepped aside, I gave place for my son to live his own life. At the time, it was hard and difficult, but I trusted God to show me the truth. He did. Today, I flourish and so does my family.
    I said to my Sweet Al, “Sometimes, we are the placeholder for the next person in line. We keep our foot in the door for the next generation, but we need to know when to get out of the way.”
    Final brushstroke: When my son ran to the Philippines, he jokingly said, “If I could run further away, I would.” Today, he has come home after 20 years. He is living his life the way God meant for him to live it. I don’t even pretend to know what God has in store for him.
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