My husband came rushing home one night this past week. He had gotten off work early to pick up Blake and take him to a school presentation. It was yet another of our sometimes chaotic family nights. I was driving Michael and several other kids to an event in another town. Blake was supposed to have been going to, but the night before he’d announced, “I can’t go. I have a presentation at school.”
It was one of those maddening moments for me as a parent. I’m driving carpool. You can’t go? And how long have you known about this presentation? Both of my boys do this kind of thing – spring on me last minute that there’s something going on that we should have been preparing for days or weeks ago. That’s a teenage thing, right?
Anyhow, with some scrambling, my hubby was able to rearrange his schedule to be able to get Blake to school and attend the presentation so that I could drive the carpool to their destination. On the day of the event, as we drove home from school, I let Blake know what time to be ready for Dad. When my hubby called, letting me know he was going to be home with just enough time to pick up Blake and get to school, I conveyed the message to Blake that he was to get ready to leave as soon as Dad pulled up. This is when he became indignant.
“I can’t go now. I have stuff to do.”
“What? Blake, Dad got off work early so he could get you to your presentation on time. You need to be ready so that you can leave right away.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t do that. I can’t be ready for a while,” he answered.
You see, he had prayers to be done. It didn’t matter that he had an entire group of kids waiting at school for him on this important night. It didn’t matter that he was a key part of their presentation and that this event was a big part of their grade in several classes. It didn’t matter that Dad had rearranged his afternoon and evening to be there and support him. When scrupulosity is a part of your life, praying comes first, or you will feel guilty, uncomfortable and anxious.
I tried to coax Blake into getting ready – to no avail. My hubby walked in the door, ready to collect Blake and get on the road.
“I’m sorry, Dad, I can’t go yet. I have stuff to do.”
“Blake, you’ve been home for an hour. You knew when this event was. We need to leave. Your classmates are depending on you. And I changed my schedule for you because this was so important…”
“I’m sorry. I can’t go”
I wasn’t sure if my husband was going to blow his top or not. OCD was affecting him, Blake, Blake’s classmates….
“Blake. If you do not come with me now, you will miss the presentation. I am not waiting for you to do your prayers.”
Somehow, Blake managed to pick up his things and head out. They made it to the presentation on time. My husband said it was splendid, and I was sad to have missed it. In the end, though, Blake couldn’t shake the nagging need to pray. He found a few moments to slip away from everyone to complete his task. Relief achieved – for the moment.