Picture this. Two little boys about 9 years old. A Friday night sleepover. Pull-out sofa in the living room in the old house on Drexel. Watching late-night corny scary movies on a tiny black & white Sylvania screen. Dan and Karl (yes – the one and only – my husband Karl), two best friends hatch a plan to start a club. An exclusive club. A club that would bring together like-minded guys with a similar passion. A sacred brotherhood where they could support each other and be supported about an issue near and dear to their core values. The name of their club?
The F.H.C. – The Female Haters Club
It had basic, yet rigid rules:
- Hate all females
- Do not look at females
- Do not look at pictures of females
- Do not touch females, even if you get the chance
- Do not tell girls they are pretty, tell them they are ugly
- Do not make girls laugh
- Do not sing to girls
- Do not sing songs girls have made
- If you break these rules, say bad words, do bad actions or anything else bad – you are kicked out of the F.H.C.
- Try to get members
The contract was signed by “Ruler Karl” and it was also signed by Dan who added this to his signature, “agreed to this act a thousand times over.” They were serious about this! They were so worried about possible girl cooties they started a club of solidarity!
In time however, they found it was somewhat difficult to recruit new members. Imagine that! And then it didn’t take long and they themselves began to abandon some of those core values. What was an all-consuming concept on that Friday night sleepover, in time, became a distant foggy memory.
Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. A few weeks ago at Jackson’s Senior Night for Carmel’s Varsity Soccer Team, when they read the “words to live by” chosen by our sometimes-a-little-too-care-free 18 year old, this is what we heard over the crackly PA System. “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”
While sometimes we wish Jackson was a little more attentive to the work at hand, I have to admit there is a lot of wisdom to this mantra. We could probably all stand to slow down, take a deep breath, and reflect on this phrase from time to time. If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.
Eighties pop music icon and soap star Rick Springfield has a new book out this fall and in it he describes the depression and feelings of low self-esteem he has battled for much of his life. He was born in Australia, and at the adorable age of 17 was filled with so much despair that he attempted suicide. The rope snapped as he kicked away the chair, and at that moment he knew he had been given a second chance to live a life of purpose. It hasn’t been easy for him even with all his good looks, talent, and success; he has still battled with depression off and on his whole life. His advice for kids filled with despair is just to wait and give it some time. Just wait a year or even a day. Everything will be different in a little time. Choking back tears he told a reporter, “If that rope hadn’t snapped, I would have missed so much; a loving wife, two great kids, an amazing career. Just give it some time. Everything will look different in time.”
The national news has recently been filled with headlines of Rutger’s college student Tyler Clementi (18)who threw himself off a bridge  to his death when faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem last month. A gay teen, he hadn’t come out to his parents yet when his roommate streamed his image onto the web. I’m sure he was convinced his world had come to an end with the very thought of his family finding out in this way. I’m sure he felt bullied and helpless and backed into a corner by his peers and perhaps society as a whole. I’m sure he felt like he had no other choice. But I am also sure his parents would have far preferred learning this information about their son, than to endure the forever pain of his suicide. I can’t help but think that if Tyler had given it a little time and reached out to his parents, school officials, and maybe law enforcement, that things would have looked very different in a year. Though it may have been a battle, he might have found out just how many people where in his corner. Given a little time, he may have discovered that the thought of suicide would have in time become a distant dim memory.
We tend to worry about so many things. You don’t have to be a depressed teen or a gay student or someone hiding a big sin, to be captive to worry. Worry seems to be universal and we seem to get better at it the older we get. Worry doesn’t matter how much money we make, what our address is, or what color our skin is. We worry about the bills. We worry about what others think about us. We worry about deadlines and the price of gas and the election results. We worry about our jobs and our spouses. We worry about getting pregnant … or not getting pregnant. Then we worry about our kids and their grades and their friends and their choices and their futures. And the list can go on and on if we let it. Worries are a lot like people – they grow bigger if you nurse them.
But I ask you, does worry accomplish one single thing? No, worrying is, in fact, bad for us. It can become a mental burden that can make us physically sick. Worrying is the opposite of trusting God. Worrying puts your focus in the wrong direction. But when we keep our eyes focused on God, it’s really hard to worry. When we remember his love for us, we realize we truly have nothing to worry about. God has an amazing plan for our lives and part of that plan includes taking care of us.
This October a really great thing happened in our family. We met for the first time, the birth mother of our youngest son, Jackson. Her name is Vicki and she is adorable, of course. She couldn’t take her eyes off him all through lunch. It’s been almost three years since we met our older son, Walker’s original family – and again I was so struck how Vicki was just an ordinary girl who got caught in a tough situation at time when she had no options and had to make a really hard decision.
And again I was so struck how things generally don’t happen by accident in this life; that my boys were specifically directed to my arms by God on purpose. I came to realize that Bobbie Jo and Vicki were used in the same way that Karl and I are used — to build a life for these specific boys for a special purpose that none of us may fully see right now. I feel like it is so amazing to be a part of His bigger plan.
Meeting both of these women was key in my coming to realize this fact. Prior to meeting one another, we all may have been prone to a little worry about a reunion.
For my husband and me: What if my child gets hurt by this new relationship?
For our sons: What if she doesn’t come for me? What if she doesn’t want to meet me? That would mean there must have been something wrong with me to make her want to give me away.
For her: What if I am a disappointment to him? What if I cry the whole meeting and embarrass him? I meant to have gone to college by now; I meant to have had it all together by now. What if he wants nothing to do with me?
But all these fears and worries vanished into thin air once we met and now we are all so glad we did.
Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday.
I think fear of the unknown too often keeps too many of us from doing some really great things and meeting some really great people.
Fear of an unknown reaction of his parents kept Tyler Clemente from the rest of his life.
Worries about what others might think of him almost kept Rick Springfield from a great career and loving family.
Fear of possible rejection could have kept our sons from learning about their genetic heritage and could have kept us from meeting two really great women.
And fear of girl cooties could have kept my husband, Ruler Karl, as a charter member of the Female Haters Club and who knows, we may have never met.
And that would have been a real tragedy!