When I picked up the kids from the camp in Virginia, I had to take the little boys with me because it was early Saturday morning and it didn’t seem necessary to get a babysitter to watch them. We left around 5. I thought they’d get antsy on the ride but they slept for four hours on the way up, and when I stopped for gas I got them some breakfast sandwiches. We arrived at the ranch around 10. Catherine spotted us first and ran out to greet us. She and Garrett walked us around the ranch so the boys could see the animals. They had goats, pigs, chickens, sheep, donkeys, little horses and big horses. Winston liked the goats best, and the boys kept pulling grass to feed them. The kids were all fairly quiet on the way home: the older ones had been up late so they napped. My concern about the little boys was unwarranted, as everyone behaved and there was not a single argument.
Rebekah and Garrett had good things to say about the experience, but Catherine was still in a mood, as she was when I dropped her off. That bad attitude carried over to the next morning, when we were supposed to lead the worship service. During practice her negativity was so obvious I had to take her in a back office and chat with her. “You need to make a decision,” I said. “Standing before God to worship Him is always a decision we make – it’s an act of the will, separate from our emotions or whether we FEEL like worshiping.” I told her we could talk about whatever was troubling her later, but I couldn’t have her up front with us if she wasn’t going to participate from her heart. I told her to take a few minutes to decide, then I went back out to finish practice. I saw her walk toward the back of the church somewhere and figured she’d decided to sit one out. After the service one of the deacon’s wives told me that she talked with Catherine for about 45 minutes, and she hoped it was helpful. I didn’t even ask her what was said because I trust that woman.
Rebekah and Garrett shared some of their testimony from the camp. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place, including mine. The audio link is here: https://app.box.com/s/t1xb7j0plfs2h0iy8g9dz0qf3jqu0dej
I wrote Catherine a long letter this week before I left for Raleigh, just trying to express my love and concern for her and hopefully get her talking to her mother and I. We did talk yesterday and a lot of what I hear her saying is stereotypical “middle child” stuff. She just doesn’t know who she is, and she has an iron will. I told her that will can either be a blessing or a curse to her life, depending on how she focuses it: I mentioned Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, and the fact that sometimes our emotions and natural proclivities run contradictory to our Father’s will. She said the problem was drama with her boyfriend, and that she dumped him and has already started setting her affection on another boy, a dude I know was raised as a Mormon. I told her she needs to learn discernment. She will only receive hurt and disappointment as long as she is focused on boys rather than on the healing and wisdom she needs to receive from the Lord, and a real relationship with Him – especially if those boys do not share her faith. But even though she’s listening, I feel like my words are just splatting on the ground. It pains me to think she might be one of those people who just has to learn truth the hard way – by having it fall on her in its awful crushing power.
Yesterday and today I spent some time cleaning out the work truck. It wasn’t super-dirty, but I am averse to putting my hands on other people’s sweat, oil, and sneezes, so I wiped out the interior surfaces really well and threw a bunch of junk out, organized tools and papers, and generally put things where I’ll be able to find them quickly. The training in Raleigh was very useful, but I have to apply myself to serious study in the next couple of weeks as I need to become an expert about pressure washers in order to answer questions and sell them effectively. Everyone is off from school and work tomorrow, which is Labor Day. So hopefully we’ll have some family time together.