Building bridges to the next generation
He’d not come to me himself. I’d not heard a peep about it; no mention of his distress. He’d slid home late that night after his father and I had turned in, and I’d not seen him.
The next day, it got a mention. Not from the party involved, of course. Not from him, for he was not one to complain or gossip, to moan or to whine or to fuss. Not one to share much about feelings. This time, it was his brother just older who’d told me the tale.
“Something happened yesterday that worried him. Did he mention it to you?” That’s what his brother had said. I’d turned, eyebrows raised.
“No,” I’d said. “What was it?”
So he’d told me the story. It was not a big thing, really, but one of those encounters that can niggle at a fella, particularly if his conscience was tender and soft. Having been a girl such as that, I could feel it. Knew the anxiety that surely rose, nerves twisting.
Here’s what had happened.
He’d been at work. It was a new job for him, this son of mine. Eager to please, he was meticulous in the performance of his duties. Seeing an opportunity to use the facilities to increase his personal fitness, he’d checked with the proper authorities, with those in charge above him, and explained what he wanted to do.
“Go for it!” said the Head of Facilities, and he did.
So there he was. It was after hours. He was running the circuit that he had devised, when an old gentleman, another employee, came along. Not used to having a young person there at that time of day, he stopped him. “Isn’t this a school night? Shouldn’t you be at home? Will you close these doors?” And so on and so forth in that vein.
For the new kid on the block, and a very tenderhearted one, it was intimidating. He froze, mumbled something, then finished his course and came home. Writhing, I’m sure, and uncertain.
Fast forward to a recent day, another encounter. For there by the steps was the old gentleman who had questioned. Who had unwittingly unsettled. Who now opened his mouth…
With grace and humility, he apologized to my son. “I should have asked you more questions,” he said. “I didn’t know…”
The joy that sprang up in my heart at the hearing of it was like spring rain. Fresh flowers. A brush of grace-scented air.
For in that moment, an old, mature Christian had given my son a gift. A portrait of maturity. A heart that bent low. A chance for a boy to give mercy. A bridge!
Just like Christ.
Did I mention, my friend, that my son works at a church? That it’s the place we attend every Sunday? Did I?
Today, I’m thinking of the many youth in our pews who’ve been hurt, scorned and judged. Who’ve been flat dis-couraged. Of those who’ve experienced rejection. In our churches.
Oh, how careful we must be, we who claim to know Christ. We who should be on meat and not milk. All grown up!
We’re the ones to bend low when humility’s needed. The ones to model Love, walk in Light. Jesus takes it personally (He’s made this quite clear) when someone offends His lambs.
As a mother, I’m asking God to give me His eyes for the young folks around me. To give me His love in my heart.
As a mother, I’m also thanking Him for the gift of a wise, older Christian who showed my son what Christ looks like. And built a bridge to this new generation.
May God bless him.