Be Easy

Straining on the toilet
we learn how
the lightning bug feels. {Kooser and Harrison}

Wyatt, our ten-year-old, has moved into the big leagues, the upper elementary school where they move from class to class through cavernous halls and (because apparently the place was built before the advent of lockers) lug pounds of massive textbooks. The poor kids look like Notre Dame’s hunchback. The foreboding buildings can be a bit of a zoo because every 5th and 6th grader in the city calls this home for two years. It is a good school and Wyatt was eager, but there is an intimidation factor. He doesn’t know many kids, and the transition includes a period where you flounder. Just wait, I keep thinking, middle school is a whole other level of awkward.

Today, Wyatt has his first presentation. Wyatt has to stand in front of his class and tell a few strands of his story and explain his “artifact box.” The box contains several of his favorite things: a book (Hunger Games), a video game (NCAA football, 2006 – because his dad’s too cheap to get anything up to date) and a piece alluding to Greek gods because this boy loves an epic tale, particularly if swords and intrigue are involved.

Wyatt has been nervous since Friday. He’s told us multiple times his vision of a best case scenario: I hope I don’t go first and I hope the person before me does a bad job – but no one laughs at them — and then I won’t feel so much pressure. Not exactly generous, but I see where he’s coming from.

I explained the trick every father since Methuselah has passed down to their son, the one about imagining everyone in their underwear. That only messed him up more. I took a a second swipe. “Wyatt, all your friends in your class are in the same boat you’re in.”

“But dad,” he answered. “I don’t have many friends in my class. Only two.”

The year will go well for Wyatt, as will the presentation I’m sure. He’ll have more friends at the end than he has now at the beginning. Still, he has to walk this path. We all do. It’s hard to move into new places. It’s hard to carry the loneliness and the fear, the anxiety about who you are and whether you belong. And my experience tells me you can be forty and still live these questions.

This morning, we read (from The Message) Jesus’ words in Luke 7: Be easy on people. I love that. We have no idea what the person we’re meeting today carries with them, but we do know (if we’ve paid attention) what we have carried — and what we sometimes carry even now. We know what it is to strain at our life. We know what it is to be alone or misplaced or fearful. We know that there are times (many) when we need someone to pause for friendship, someone to simply go easy on us.

Today, I find myself praying for Wyatt, Let someone be easy. And I’m praying the same for you. Why don’t we all just lower our guard and open our ears, drop our sarcasm and our critique. Why don’t we all just go easy on each other.

10 Replies to “Be Easy”

  1. What good, good words Winn. I am now even more sorry I missed the chance to be with you all yesterday. It is just nice to know that there is room and space and a calling in this world for being easy on one another and helping each other walk through amazingly hard times. Blessing upon blessing to Wyatt in these awkward years. I cannot wait to see the man that emerges on the other side.

    1. thank you for turning me on to the volume. It’s a strange calling, it seems, these days. Strange call. I’m partial to strange, as you are, my friend.

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