…Help me believe in what I could be
And all that I am.
Show me the stairway, I have to climb.
Lord for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time.
— Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson, 1974
My 10-year-old son puts on a pair orange mirrored sunglasses and says, “Hey, Mom, look! I’m a rowdy teenager! I think I look cool in these glasses.”
We make our way through the sporting goods store as I pick up a few things here and there. He’s going to a friend’s house to spend the night and his T-shirt is filthy. It was clean 15 minutes before we left the house and now it’s covered in I-don’t-know-what. I grab a BCG shirt off the rack. Another $9.99.
We make it through the check-out and once we’re in the parking lot we almost climb in the wrong white Jeep. Why are there so many of these cars on the road, and more importantly, why did I buy one?
Most days, we move as a unit. All of us crammed into tight quarters. Opportunities for one-on-one time with my boy are rare. During the 25-minute drive to his friend’s house, we hold hands. I tell him I love him and that I can’t live without him and please, don’t run in your friend’s house.
“And, don’t hang from the chandelier or ride the banister down the stairs. Remember to brush your teeth.”
Half way to our destination, we talk about the future as we sometimes do. Every day, we pray for direction about this and that and something else. But, the answers seldom come easy. He tells me God has put something very specific on his heart. He says we can talk about it later.
The ride falls silent as he peers out the window and stares up at the hot June sky.
“I see Gabriel in the clouds,” he says. “See him right there,” he points. “He’s holding his sword and shield.”
We make it to his friend’s house, but not before missing our exit. I make small talk with the boy’s parents, and before I leave I call up the stairs to my son who disappeared the moment we arrived. “I’m going, now,” I holler. He bounds down the stairs, skipping five steps in one leap.
“Try to take it one step at a time,” I say. He smiles big and walks me to the door. He recites his oft repeated prayer:
“Don’t get hurt, harmed sick or die, Mom, but die of old age.”
We hug goodbye and I climb in my Jeep and drive away. All day long I pray I can take mine own advice: Take it one step at a time.
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