by - April 02, 2012

I keep a list of the ones I like. Ubiquitous. Evince. Scintillate. Ran across "umbrage" in our family devotion last week.

I love words, collect them, study them. I listen hard, until circumstances wound me. Then I want to fling out all the words and tell the stories and be healed. But they aren't my stories to tell, and my heart still breaks sad. Sometimes it's the price for loving hard. So instead, I hide my words believing it makes me stronger, less vulnerable, the best I can do. At least that's what I tell myself, and they're the only words I let myself use.


I toss the keys to Adrian. He's driving rather than riding, and it's just the distraction he needs for his words to break forth. They're beautiful like morning birdsong in late May.

Being privy to your almost seventeen-year-old son sounding out his life and figuring this way and that, and finding fragments that fit together—well, the sound of it makes me happy and satisfied some place deep down I can't quite pinpoint. The way morning birdsong does when it wakes you from a restful night of sleep. It's grace upon grace.

I think the words might have startled him had he not been paying attention to the road. I don't think he realized they were all just right there, anxious for his mouth to open. He had no idea he wanted to talk.

He normally opts to ride home from church, or anywhere really, with his dad. His father is always first choice, and I'm okay with that; he happens to have a good one. But tonight, he steps to my car with, "Hey, Mom, can I drive?" I oblige him for no reason at all, other than that he chose me. It's odd. And it's nice.

He puts it in drive and opens his mouth. A shock of words tumble out.

He talks of the one he thinks of most. His monologue turns to the One he should think of most, and the truth and consequence and agony of that. He tackles his future and who he is becoming as best he can with his less than 17 years.

He finally brims over, long after he's tucked the car neatly in the garage, us side by side in the parked car. He's still talking, hoping the headlamps that now shine on the unfinished wall of the garage will somehow shed light on his life dawning before him.

I mostly listen, mostly because that's what my mom did. It's what I love about Mom. She listened. And I also tell him I'm proud, because I am.

He's turned the key back upward, pulled them from the ignition, and hands them back, his eyes shining. The keys lay in my lap, something for my fingers to fiddle with like a worry stone. A place for my eyes to lite when I take then from his face. I do this periodically because I don't want to be so intent on his words that I shut him up.

But it's not worry I feel, it's release—words finally breaking the hold in me.

And they aren't even my words.

But there is healing in the listening—even for my sad circumstances that had nothing to do with him or his words.

It's startling, and evincing, and grace upon grace.

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  1. Listening. It is key. We all need and want to be heard. Especially at 16 and he's really almost 17 in a few days! Such a wise woman!

  2. I have 20 yo and a 19 yo boys. The invitation to be part of their lives is so sweet, I can not resist. I so understand every word, every line....

  3. I've learned this too Dawn, to be quick to listen, slow to speak. And they really have no idea how their words heal and minister to our mother's heart do they? Described these tender moments so beautifully.


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