Classic Gene & Andrea

One time when we were driving home from Ohio, we stopped at
McDonalds.  We ate our food, and I took
off for the restroom while the kids ran into the play place.  When I returned, there is Elena playing alone
while Brandt is standing at the door to the play area.  He was too scared to play.

It turns out that
there is a Ronald McDonald statue standing there and Brandt is too scared to
play because of it.  I had this little
flash in my brain about kids responding with empathy in certain situations, so
I gave it a shot.  “Oh he is such a nice
clown” and “Sometimes children get sick and their mommies can’t stay with them
in the hospital, so Ronald McDonald builds them houses beside the hospital so
they can stay close by”.  On and on I
ramble about the philanthropic practices of the good clown Ronald McDonald.

When I finally shut up, Gene said “Thanks.  I just got done telling him that the clown’s
not real and that he is just plastic like this chair.”

Brandt, who was thoroughly confused, kept saying things like:  “Is Ronald McDonald a chair?”  “He was dead but now he’s alive?”

It seems we often do stuff like this.  We cancel out each other’s teachable moments.  Instead of explaining it, we bought some
coffee and went home.

Letter to Brandt

Just lately you’ve been talking about God a lot. Questions that I didn’t ask until I was WAY older than you are. So when we talk about this stuff, I wanted to tell you what a rollercoaster you put my heart on. When I answer you, I am all too aware that maybe and probably I am getting it wrong. So I answer, and send up little prayers the whole time “God help me not to mess him up too bad. Help me not to mess him up too bad”.

Why was there a flood if God is love? Really? This from a person who still sucks his thumb? I think I would rather talk about women in leadership, or about eschatology. I believe my answer included: Mumble mumble erm…hmm. Wicked people..Oh buddy, sorry I have to go pee.

Once you even started to cry, and worried about “How do you know if you’re following Jesus, IF YOU CAN’T HEAR THE SPIRIT?” (bold part yelled in frustration)

I told you to tell God you want to follow Jesus, and then not worry about it. He’ll help you do the rest. So you laid down on the couch all stiff like, and buried your head in a pillow, and then you said, “I did it without talking” and then you said in all seriousness “Now I will follow Jesus into the kitchen”. I laughed.

So your faith journey is beginning, and you are so sensitive and so literal. I know that later, the questions will be harder and will shake my core.

What also shakes me is that you are being molded by a mish-mash of things I control or don’t control. Bible story books with little details that you insist are true, Sunday School, Casting Crowns, and how your Dad and I live our lives.

I want to hold you like putty in my hand and force you into the mold that I have in mind for you. The other day, I told you that God will never force you to do good, you will always have a choice. I wished I wouldn’t have, because you got a little glint in your eyes and said “We can still do bad things?”. I said “Yes, you’re never forced to do good things”. And in my heart I’m praying “God make him choose good; make him choose good.” Ironic huh?

When you went to bed the other night, you gave a happy sigh and said “It’s so fun to talk about Jesus and stuff right?” My heart literally seized up.

I love talking about Jesus and stuff with you.