Last night, I was in the office messing around while Josh was getting ready for bed. I saw that Lisa had a book by Flannery O’Connor, so I picked it up and start reading. It was a collection of short stories.
A few minutes later, Josh comes in yammering about something, and I absently tell him to get continue getting ready for bed. So he leaves but returns 5 seconds later, but in those 5 seconds something in the book has caught my attention.
He snuggles up behind me, still talking, but I’m still reading through the paragraph … no time to bother with him yet. Then I realize he’s saying … something … something … familiar and yet nonsensical.
“What are you saying, Josh?”
“I’m trying to reeeeeeeaaaaaaad.”
“Trying to read!”
“What are you talking about? What are you reading?”
“A .. good .. maaaane .. is hared .. to fend”
“What? Point to what you’re reading.”
Josh points to the top of the page where the title of the short story is: “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
Awesome!!! Josh is reading! So we work through the proper phonetics, he gets all spun up, and then off to show off to momma!
After that, instead of me reading to him for bedtime, I help him read to me. It’s pretty awesome.
So, for the first time, someone younger than me, who I have known, has died. I didn’t know him much as an adult – I just knew him as a kid. From what I know of his adulthood, I’m going to keep remembering him as a kid … because when we talked in recent years, it was as two kids catching up. And, from what I’m gathering, that’s the good part of him that persevered in between his suffering and abandonment … a kid just wanting to be free, to be at ease and enjoy life, to share with folks that part of him that was happy.
What sucks worst about all of this is that it could have been avoided. He was, from what I can gather, still under his parents roof. He had suffered visibly in front of them for years. He had undergone counseling for his demons. Yet the real support he needed at home – the removal of any semblance of a stumbling stone – was ignorantly and somewhat selfishly neglected.
To be sure, his absence is mourned … his premature mortal end is agonized … but I wonder if anything has really been learned in all of this. Wounds I had not known lie monstrously before me, and they do not look to be mending. His tale may not be the last in his family. His family needs more prayers than I could ever give. Please remember them, if you will.
I don’t pretend to know where my young friend is destined. I very well do know what and why people would say different things. But, more importantly, I know he’s in good hands now … and however that will pan out is between them just as it always has been.
My prayers go with him. My prayers petition for him. My prayers encourage him. May you be at peace, my young friend.
Every now and then, He shows up in my babies as they embrace the faith. Faith, hope, and charity – pretty amazing stuff when it manifests itself in little ones.
‘course, when they decide to turn off the narrow way … yeah … life is hard.
And life is hard. But for kids we think it so simple. Yet the awful confusion of it all even in that simplicity really should set our expectations for everything else to come when life becomes so much more complicated
Josh’s money quote (from about six months ago): “I want to be good, but I don’t want to be good.” We related this story later that day to the archbishop who laughed and said, “I think St. Paul said something like that.”
Okay … so … those of you who know me … this isn’t new.
BUT!!! I’m beginning to believe it is genetic.
Case in point, at Josh’s birthday party a few weeks ago, my extended family was gathered in the den talking about burps, farts, and other bodily noises … at which point Jason turns to me and says, “Well, at least you come by it honestly … POOP!”
But, it gets even better.
One night a few weeks ago, I was tucking Josh in for bed, and we generally say an Our Father (aka Lord’s Prayer) before I head out for the night. So there we are, me lying beside Josh with his back to me saying our prayer. As we were saying it, Josh lets out a little toot as we reach “and forgive us our tresspasses” to which I append, ” and toots,” … cue Josh giggling … but I press on … “as we forgive those who tresspass and toot against us” … at which point Josh’s giggling becomes an uncontrollable fit of laughter.
And it doesn’t stop there.
William has bad gas. When he passes gas, you generally have to check his drawers to make sure there isn’t a little present in there waiting for you – and I’m not talking about a toaster! (… Family Guy reference had to be made …) Well, as with all little habitual routines, when we realize he is still unsoiled, we generally say, “You’re stinkie!”
The other day, William quite audibly passes gas … and says, in his cute little toddler voice, “I stinkie! *giggle, giggle*”
Now, if you’re still not laughing … or don’t at least have some kind of weird smile on your face … I don’t know how we’ll ever be friends … but I’ll try anyways. Just don’t mind the farts, please.
…but not today. My radio silence of late has been due to trying to get things at home squared away. In terms of office space, that means getting all my hardware and software sorted out, and in the process of that, I decided to undertake a few special but needed projects.
If you visit the Personal link above, that’ll take you to the web server hosted off of my machine at home. There’s probably some kind of bogus rule on my ISP that says I can’t do that for too long – but I doubt I’ll get the kind of traffic that will make them take notice. Anyways … I’ve set up a new blog specifically to cover the Chastain Family experience – something I should probably think and talk about more AND something that Lisa can participate with me in, and hopefully the kids too as they get older. I also set up a new family photo album. I’ve got a few family pictures in it, but it will be growing quickly over the next few weeks. I’ve got something like 500 pictures to sort through and post.
Anyways … so that’s what I’ve been up to. Go check it out!