We need to respond to His wake up call

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 15, 2015

With all of our children returning to school, it seems only appropriate to offer the following discourse, which may be of special interest, especially to the progeny of a teenage vintage:

             It was a recently blended family, for it consisted of a mother, her early teenage son and the newly arrived husband. There was a good fit between the boy and this new fellow, as each was looking for the other in their lives. They eagerly called each other “Dad,” and “Son.”

Early on, as the relationship was so strong, the newly minted father took over the chores of child discipline. Now the “kid” had a good heart, and was not really bad, but he was charged with all of the testosterone enhanced historical baggage of his age. Sloth, appetite and hygiene were continuous challenges, every day.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Of particular note, was the weekday ritual of getting the soon-to-be man up for his school day. The layout of the house had the recalcitrant child in regular repose in the lower level, in what was euphemistically called, “The Pit.” Early in the weekday mornings, his mother would stand at the top of the stairs and intone, “Andy it’s time to get up!” This was soon followed with more earnest entreaties and volume, sounding very much like a carnival barker with, “Up Andy! Andy, up!…” The inevitable result was a most flustered mother, a disconcerted dad and a sleepy child slogging woefully up the stairs, to decrease the crust on his body in the hall bath.

Soon, fed up with this morning institution, the father announced he was taking over the wake-up duties, announcing. “Tomorrow, I will tell you to get up, but only twice. If you don’t so, the rest will be up to me.” “OK,” came the wide-eyed acknowledgement, “I understand.” “Really?” thought the man.

The following morning began the  change in the new world order. Like the mother, the father conveyed,” Andy, it’s time to get up.” From the darkness below, came the firm acknowledgement, “Thanks, Dad.” Then silence…lots of it. Entreating his new son, once again, came the parental, “Son, you had better get up!” From the odious slumber cave came a plaintive, “I’m up.” Again silence, with only the ticking of the clock measuring the passage of time.

Now, recognizing a different solution had been chosen by the child, the father padded into the kitchen and filled a large glass with ice and water. Waiting several minutes, and hearing nothing from the depths below, he transferred the now well-chilled contents to a small glass, sans the cubes.  Deliberately, and without any effort to conceal his movements, he proceeded down the stairs. Turning the corner into the adolescent’s bedroom, the vision was glorious. Here, hugging the pillow with amorous sincerity was the precious child in the arms of Morpheus, resplendent in his comfort and oblivious to what was about to befall him. Conveniently, the bedclothes were at his waist, revealing a commodious pink back to the air.

Holding the glass above the cherub, the malevolent father turned the glass over as he exited. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched the boy’s frame convulsively rise, three feet in the air, as the liquid took its full effect. With a, “Whadja do that for?” emanating from the now fully awake son, the dad replied, “I told you if you did not get up, I was taking if from there…”

The following morning, the father’s feet hit the floor with an immediate, and adult, “I’m up!” emanating from below. From that morning forward, there was no further need for the “Wake-up Ritual.” The effect was so significant, Andy never missed a day of high school and they often laughed about it.

We, as a nation, may need some cold water poured upon ourselves in our sloth, our appetite for self-serving, and the odious forms of our emotional and spiritual attitudes. Consider what a cleansing benefit if we, even in our adulthood, had someone who loved us enough to put some cold water on our too often self-imposed and miserable choices. Simply, we would be the better for it and more in tune with our responsibilities and focused upon better futures. Perhaps God is already doing so, but we are so inured to ourselves, we do not react to His wake-up call, no matter how much Grace is poured upon us.

By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins.