Drafts of 16 posts written by my eldest son, William, remain unpublished in the list of posts that I’m able to see as the administrator of the blog I set up for my kids.
William is an excellent writer, and the unpublished drafts include works of fiction, poetry, journaling, and philisophical observations filled with honesty of emotion. His mind engages his environment with insightful and introspective clarity. I’m sincerely impressed, and not just as a parent-fan, and I’ve told him so.
He has a litany of reasons for not publishing his thoughts. “It’s all crap,” he says. “I can assure you it isn’t,” I reply. He laughs.
I have had difficulty conversing with William, always, but more lately. Arbitrary, superficial, tyrrany-of-the-urgent stuff usurps a dominating role in our lives, but that’s not the full explanation.
In the flash-flood of my all-too-often, anger-fueled lecturing tirades, he has struggled to keep his head above the water. I heard somewhere once that in spite of theatrical evidence to the contrary, it’s impossible to cry for help when you’re drowning. Apparently, you can’t gasp for breath and verbalize your need at the same time.
William and I are quite alike in so many ways that I’ve often belly-ached to God for his cruel mockery of my weaknesses by having them appear so obviously in my son’s predisposition. Of course, William also has been gifted in ways for which I’ve only wished and prayed.
I love him fiercely. I’m often caught unaware by the depth of the emotion of it.
Unpublished drafts give me a window into his thoughts, those he portends with silent, desperate gestures as he drowns in my flood of words, or the expectation of them.
I wonder about the misunderstandings of so many relationships incurred by the inability of one party to gain administrative access to the unpublished drafts of other parties.
So much is left unsaid, unpublished. So many misunderstandings persist, and become historical fact, under the constant pressure and pace of time, and our passive-aggressive ability to assume and impose motives and rationale on the empty spaces of conversations.
Imaginations run wild, offense is taken, defense is mustered, assumptions make what they will of us.
After going to bed last night with misunderstandings busily building mountains of molehills, it took 2 calls and 45 minutes this morning for me to hear my wife clearly, and to explain myself adequately to draw out her typically gracious response to my shortcomings. “Thanks. That helps,” she said. That was an understatement of abundant grace akin to Jesus saying, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
Lives become past-tense with unpublished drafts of real words divulging truth only to audiences who remain perpetually unaware of their existence.
God forbid, please God, that precious gifts and their days are wasted without notice on misunderstandings borne and sustained by silence.
God, please, make me a listener, especially to the silence.
And grant me, always, please, administrative access to unpublished drafts, or at least to the knowledge of their existence, so that I might, with love and grace, persuade their publication.
And thanks, God, for the depth of the well dug in William’s earth. May it be a fountain of living water. May your grace be sufficient for us both.
May your grace be sufficient for us all.