A few weeks ago my son bounded into the kitchen and casually mentioned, “Hey Mom, can I write on the wall? I responded just like you would: “Are you kidding me?!!” Now, number one: If you’re going to deface primary property owned by your parents, who, in his right mind, would ask for permission? And number two: what parent would give it?! (I still remember coloring my Yogi Bear bedroom curtains as a 7-y-old because that black outline of the pine tree was just begging to be brought to life. And I most certainly did not ask for prior approval.)
You see, my house is old and beginning to show signs of wear-and-tear as it is. The walls need a new coat of paint, a few windows are cracked, and the carpet is stained - especially on the well-beaten path up and down the stairs. I fight a constant state of entropy. And as my children are getting older, I was beginning to think we could actually get a handle on things and freshen up the place – NOT spiral further downward.
However, (sigh) – this particular child is an artist and, as Dr. Dobson would say: “Choose your battles, LuAnne.” After all, in the grand scheme of things, if scribbling on a semi-gloss pumpkin-colored bedroom wall keeps him off drugs and out of jail, who am I to stand in his way? So, I relented. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Sure.”
He never brought it up again, and I assumed he’d either forgotten about it or lost interest, so I dismissed the conversation. A few days later, I was tossing his cross-country shoes through the doorway of his room and happened to glance up above his bed. There, freshly painted in crisp white lettering appeared the simplest of phrases: “He must become greater. I must become less. John 3:30” THAT was the essence of my son’s graffiti rebellion. I was instantly convicted that I had nearly silenced such a profound expression of truth.
This same young man now lives 758.10 miles away at college. I miss him terribly. The room is stark and void of life. As parents, it's tough to pour your entire being into an eternal soul for 18+ years...only to release him or her. So, every few days I'll peek my head around the corner and be reminded of the cry of his heart, and realize anew that my children are never truly "mine" anyway - that the Lord simply loans me these little people. I'm blessed that my son has not only etched truth on the walls of his room, he's daily embedding it on my heart as well.
Oh Lord, may I embrace this handwriting on the wall every day of my life: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)