As two young boys played with a football on the asphalt of the apartment parking area, their mom stood chatting away with a neighbor. The boys seem to sense this. Innocently and with devilish intent, they took turns mixing up the aim of their kicks to barely miss the adults or accidently hit them. They kept getting closer and closer to their targets. It was a humorous exchange where both sides seemed to be aware that the other was aware. The adults had taken a call to let it play out to the end!
As the playing began to escalate, I wondered where it was going to finish. Would either adult change their mind and intervene?
In a matter of minutes, even from a distance one could see that the velocity of the football coming off the foot of the older boy had begun to ramp up. My question lingered without an obvious answer.
The pattern set in motion reminded me of examples over the years where managers ignored the actions of those they were accountable for. I often wondered why. In the case of the young boys it seemed that the mother had the measure of her boys. She knew how much damage they could do, danger they could be in, and pain they could take.
Before it was all over the inevitable crash and burn cycle had run its course. It is always the case that our actions come with natural outcomes. In an old story the equivalent of mom “turned them over to the heathen so that the people who hated them ruled them.” (Psalm 106.41) In today’s version, the younger one walked into the trajectory of the semi-in-control shot of the older one with tears and consolation following as one would expect.
In each story the hurt found the embrace of restoration and the comfort of knowing they belonged. As I close my eyes and replay the chapter variations in my story, I see the wonder, beauty, and joy of being restored in love. It is a great feeling at any age.