Tuesday, August 17, 2010

T Minus Two: Re-entry

Dear Adrian,

It's two nights before a new school year, and I've been thinking about you, the academic rigors you'll face for the first time (lots of honors courses--yikes!), and how much you've grown over the summer--in both height and heart.  I told you last night at the dinner table that you tend to start new things with gusto, but your energy and desire taper way off to below average  and your over-confidence kicks in for the long haul.  I was hoping it would be a warning to apply a wiser strategy to the start of a new school year.

You made me so happy when you didn't respond with words. Someday, believe it or not, you won't feel the need to argue with me all the time anymore. Did I see a glimpse into that future last night? I think what I saw was some of that heart growth I mentioned. (Or was that just because you had a mouthful of roast at the moment?) Don't answer that....

At the time, I meant the words of wisdom to affect your earthly life, but, lo and behold, C. S. Lewis offers the same warning to Christians in regard to their spiritual heath. It might be a little confusing. The letter is written from an uncle named Screwtape to a demon nephew, Wormwood, in order to advise him regarding how to tempt a christian (his patient) from his new-found faith. So, the Enemy, Adrian, is God. I know...I told you it was confusing.  Let's listen in:

Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His 'free' lovers and servants--'sons' is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to 'do it on their own.' And there lies our opportunity.

I want so many wonderful things for you, son. So many that you'll never know this side of being a parent yourself. But trust me, it's a lot. A bunch. You might need your calculator. But I can't make any of your success happen for you. You have to 'do it on your own.' Actually, you get to do it on your own. It's the only way you're free. It's a privilege and an honor, one that you can be proud of if you make it past the excitement at the onset into the hard work of making those aspirations come true. Don't fall to the enemy's temptation (the devil this time). Not in school nor in your spirit.

I like what I see in the young man I'll be sending off to tenth grade in two days. I very much want to like what I see come November, too. I pray you take the reins, do it on your own, and make your mother, your Father, and yourself very proud. So that when you do eventually fly, you'll be free.

My love to you,

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race which is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...so you will not grow weary and lose heart. ~Hebrews 12:1-3

What does LOVE look like in your home?
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