Today I came to realize how delaying a boy's birthday party without explanation can wreak havoc among the hearts and minds of the boys involved...which makes me touched at their sensitivity, and frustrated at my lack of attention to the matter of arranging a timely party.
I first received a message from a mother asking whether her son had done something to bug Tim...to which I had to reply no he had not...but we did clarify some things that had both boys in a state of confusion as to what was keeping them apart, so God provided a healing in that.
Next, and it should have been before, since Tim received it a few hours earlier, Tim brought me a handwritten note from another friend who was devastated to think that Tim didn't like him any more...which couldn't be farther from the truth. It was given to Tim this afternoon, but because it was faintly written, Tim with his eye-focusing troubles could not read it. The note was requesting an immediate response. Tim gave it to me very late tonight, so I couldn't even call the boy's mother and clarify; I sent an e-mail but will call as soon as I'm up at daybreak. Tim was very distraught when he found the hurt that this friend was going through, and so was I.
I noticed a thread going through these incidents. With the first boy, who had various times declined invitations to our house, I in self-consciousness thought it might be because of my housekeeping being far from perfect, and/or because the other boys had been obsessed with a movie series that he had not seen yet, and he might have felt at a disadvantage with them...when actually he declined because he thought he ought to stay with another friend after music class because the friend's mother required him to stay and study. So I had thought his hesitation might be my fault. He thought Tim's delay in inviting him to the birthday was because of something he had done to bug Tim. The other boy thought Tim didn't like him because of something selfish he had seen in his own behavior, but which Tim had not taken on as an issue.
So we were all blaming it on ourselves, the two friends and me...all figuring that divisions that we had imagined were our own faults. The divisions were imagined, and the faults were imagined (well, housekeeping can be a real issue around here), but I think the trait of blaming self and not blaming the other is thanks to Christ...He has put it in our hearts not to place blame on another, not to dismiss a case as being another's fault. He has caused us to look to our own lack, our own faults in need of correction. I am so thankful for this, because it allowed for resolution. If the first friend had just thought Tim was being unfriendly, it could have been the end of the friendship. If the second friend had assumed the same, that friendship could have come to an end. If I had thought that the boy who avoided our house was "judgmental" about housecleaning, or just plain unfriendly, I might not have even wanted discussion with his mother. So Jesus has created in us a healing ability where hardness might have never allowed the friendships to flourish and continue.
I am still feeling convicted that I should have been sensitive enough to notify friends that their sons are definitely welcome to come celebrate Tim's birthday when I get my act together, though I never realized the potential effects...but I am so thankful for God's leading in keeping the doors of friendship open and allowing honesty and healing and correct thinking. And I am so honored and awed to have my son have such sweet friendships. Hallelujah!