Matt was one year old when we moved to Spain in 1985. The large house we were provided was not insulated well, and had inefficient electrical convection heater panels on the wall. But we also had a wood stove in the kitchen, and were provided wood for it. This stove had a glass window in the side, which got very hot, and all the kids were warned not to touch the stove. But when Matt was two, he placed the palms of his hands flat against the hot stove window one day. Later, in the hospital, with his hands completely bandaged up, the doctor told us he might never have full use of his hands again. Fortunately, he fully recovered and indeed has full use of his hands.
I mentioned in an earlier post that when “circumstances” are perfectly timed, and we are receptive to that fact, we can participate in a miracle from God. One day, when Matt was three, I returned home early from work, the first time I had ever done that. I walked down into the salon, a room we seldom used, and not where I would normally go on return home from work. I happened to look out the window and saw that the gate in the fence around the pool was ajar. I ran downstairs and out into the backyard, to the pool, to find a boy from across the street squatted down at the edge of the pool. As I approached, I saw that he was reaching over, and Matt was floating face down in the pool. I quickly pulled him out, expecting to see an unresponsive blue face. But Matt sputtered a little, and looked at me with big eyes, with an expression that seemed to ask “am I in trouble?”
When Matt was four, one Saturday I was downstairs in my study, and I could hear the four kids playing in the back yard through the open windows. I heard some crying, that soon turned to a couple whimpers, then silence, so I assumed there was nothing really wrong. I couldn’t see the kids from the window. Now Daniel, the oldest, had gone up to get his mother, telling her that Matt had “got stuck.” Dee asked, is he crying, and Daniel replied that he was initially, but not now. She continued what she had been doing, but Daniel suggested that maybe she really should come see. I heard Dee’s gasp of terror and an “oh no,” but still could not see anything from my window.
I went running upstairs and was greeted in the kitchen by the sight of Dee carrying Matt in her arms into the kitchen, Matt with his entire head and face very bloody, the whole front of Dee’s blouse wet with his blood. I told Dee to put his head under some cold running water and apply pressure, and ran around to the back yard, looking for an axe and an explanation from the other kids as to who had used it. Well, they told me also that Matt “had got stuck.” With what? One of those. Those what? Those stickers, they said, pointing to some rose bushes at the back fence.
I ran back to the kitchen, and tried looking for the wound, under the running water. But I could not see a wound, just flowing blood mixing with the water. After applying pressure for a while, the blood stopped flowing, but it still took quite a while to locate the small puncture that seemed to hit a vein in his scalp just right (wrong). They do sing that “every rose has its thorn.”
I share those three incidents as I share with you the fact that Matt was sometimes a challenge. The school found Matt advanced in capability and bored, and said he should be moved up a grade. Then the following year, an aggressive, assertive elementary school teacher thought he had a mandate to shape Matt, and when Matt didn’t respond well, the teacher suggested Matt repeat that grade. I wanted to know if the teacher’s plans consisted of Matt spending two years in every other grade level. Well, there were other challenges through high school and college. There were friends I thought it better not to be around, and there were some brushes with the law. Matt has shared with me his recognition of some errors he has made in relationships, and I shared with him the books His Needs, Her Needs and Love Busters (see my resources).
I am grateful that Matt is a good son, whom I have been blessed to share Good Love with. I remember one day, while up north in the city, I suggested we go by and see Matt, at the apartment we had never been to. Matt was surprised to see us, but appeared troubled. Well, it was some more perfect timing, another miracle, as we were able to identify several needs and provide some encouragement and assistance.
Today, Matt is working hard at building his new business, GreenBound, an internet book business. The whole family has joined the effort, and it has been a blessing to see him hold business meetings with his brothers, and listen to them plan together. I shared with Matt some observations from The Principle of the Path, and we seem to agree on the importance of making good choices, picking paths with long term happiness at the end rather than long term regrets. What greater blessing is there than seeing your kid doing something he enjoys, whistling sometimes as he works? Especially when you have a small part in contributing to and participating in the effort?
Only one thing – telling him that he is a blessing to me, and that I am grateful for the love we share.