Stardate 2009. Under supreme Starfleet Command, I am the captain of a teenage USS Enterprise. (Captain Kirk abandoned ship — he didn’t have the stomach for the g-forces). I have two teenage girls — closely spaced in age. Is there any adventure more daunting? At this point, I think not.
In our generally functional household, it is an everyday drama which hurdles through parallel universes of “who stole my headbands” and heartache on the way to its heavenly mission. Some days it is enough to suck all energy right out of the family atmosphere.
Let me be clear: I am not, nor have I ever been, a “trekkie”. But, I know just enough of the jargon that it seems like a fair analogy for parenting…especially for the weird adventure of motherhood.
“(TEENAGE) SPACE THE FINAL FRONTIER. THESE ARE THE VOYAGES OF THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE, HER (EIGHTEEN+)-YEAR MISSION TO EXPLORE STRANGE NEW (ADOLESCENT) WORLDS, TO SEEK OUT NEW LIFE AND NEW CIVILIZATION, TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE.”
So, here is the galaxy in which I orbit: It revolves around the teenage psyche. My husband and I make our eternal loops rocketing somewhere between awe of our blessed opportunity to mold/shape/interact with these alien teenage beings and the efforts to dodge the space junk that seems to constantly whiz by our heads (–that, and the gamma rays stealthily aimed at our hearts through the occasional galactic battle with pubescent wits and wills).
The recurrent evil plot in our universe lately seems to revolve around the ever-effective “it doesn’t matter what I do, I can never do anything right…so why try” excuse. Like a portal into another space and time, all rules are suspended when this defense is used. Gravity isn’t even certain, here. I mean, how do you argue with that? — or not argue, as the case may be. How do I convince my headstrong extraterrestrial that her incalculable God-given value, talents and efforts are appreciated — and yet, need correction from time to time? How do I show respect for her sometimes Martian-like ways while firmly re-establishing that no matter what she “feels like,” gravity does apply, some rules do need to be followed, Truth trumps tantrums? God is in the heavens. All is well. How not to alienate an alien?
I find myself frequently begging Star Command (that being God) for direction before I am sucked into the dark vortex of youthful emotion. I’m not always successful. (I think it’s because I keep getting distracted by updating my Starlogue). How did I get to this galaxy far, far away?…and more importantly, how do I get back?
Do you know what a black hole is? (Scientists speculate) it’s a gravitational field in space which is so strong that light cannot escape it. Inevitably, a new episode begins when my starship ventures too close to the edge of one, and because of emotion, life pressures, distraction — whatever — I get out of contact with Star Command.
The black hole for this captain/parent starts off in a cloud of how I’ve failed my crew, before traveling into the hopeless void of how little time I have left to strengthen them before they leave home. My ship then loses all power — embracing ultimate doom somewhere in the area of what a sorry example of Christ I am.
Typically –and thankfully– this is when Star Command usually gets through to my failing frequency. Just as all hope fades, there IS light. Cutting through the dark with laser precision, the One who set the universe in motion readjusts my orbit, recalculates my flight path, and rights my course. I am reminded that
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows ~ James 1:17
My imperfect kids are a perfect gift sent from above for their imperfect mom. The Father of heavenly lights consistently uses everything as flight training. Black hole? What black hole?
Disengage! Disengage! Reverse thrust, Captain. Set course for home. Humbly, seek the Light. The battle is not against flesh and blood, remember that (she says to herself).
And I should listen to me. After all, I am the captain. LISTEN TO THE CAPTAIN!
Want an Adventure? Make space to remember the ultimate goal of your mission as parent. Laugh about the “adventures of your starship.” Appreciate the assignment God’s given you. Find a way to gently and non-verbally affirm that with your kid(s) today. (If you don’t have kids, affirm the mission you see in someone who does. Trust me, they need it). Then, remind me why I’ll look back on this and laugh.