Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Walking out of the room

Not surprisingly, I've been thinking a lot about V the last couple of days. Specifically, the words she texted the Beve Saturday afternoon have really haunted me.  "I wasn't disobeying, I just need my space."  It's pretty impressive, the audacity of a 15-year-old to say such words to the adults in authority in her life.  When Beve read them out-loud to me, my jaw actually dropped.  I couldn't imagine such a thing.  Or maybe having the gall to say it (write it!) outright.

When I was her age, though, I often created my own space from my parents, especially my mom by developing what I call the "walking out of the room syndrome."  It entailed mentally leaving my body while my mother lectured or yelled at me. Or even simply tried to have a simple conversation.  I'd walk into the house after being with friends, go down to my parents' room to say goodnight, and my mother would want to know what we'd done.  I'd tell her some simple facts about my evening: "We went bowling, then over to the Methodist church, where we sat and talked." and she'd start pressing;"Who all was there? What did you talk about?" and suddenly a switch turned off in me, and I'd 'walk' out of the room.  My body stayed, but my eyes glazed over as I tried to make my get-away as quickly as possible.  Something about how she wanted to get into my world made me want to pull back.  And when she lectured me, watch out!  I could sit there on the couch but in my brain be saying, "I have stood up, walked out of this room and down the stairs.  Putting on my t-shirt, getting into bed.  Reading my book.  I can't hear her."

Interestingly, the first time I saw E's eyes glaze over when I was disciplining her was when she was four years old.  I don't remember the offense, but I snapped my fingers in front of her face and said, "Don't you do that!  You stay right here and listen to me."  I just asked SK and she tells me she's never 'walked out of the room' though she sometimes spaces out when we're talking, but "Mama, you do that to me, too." (Hmm, I think that's called simply not paying attention.) 

But these words of Vera's, this idea of "I wasn't disobeying, I just needed my space;"  is a step farther than what I did.  Maybe it's 50 steps farther.  I'd never just have had the unmitigated gall to say that to my parents.

But then again, perhaps those words are a perfect definition of sin.  Don't we say this to God by our actions all the time?  Whenever we choose our ways over His we are saying it to one extent or another.  Rationalizing, justifying.  I told our friend J and K last night that it can go back to the Garden, and J said, "I wasn't disobeying, I just needed 'taste.'"  RIGHT!  It's about everything.  The very last thing we need is space from God. And the opposite of 'space from' is 'connection to.'  The closer we are to Him, the more we obey.  We obey Him, we are connected to Him, we are in relationship with Him. And then--then--we "taste and see that the LORD is good, blessed are those who take refuge in Him." Psalm 34: 8

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