The air on Facebook has felt a bit toxic to me lately. So, I announced I’d be taking a little hiatus. I needed some space between me and all the heated political discussions, the finger-pointing, and name-calling. I looked forward to the wide-open space free from Facebook notifications.
For this reason, a friend of mine knew I wouldn’t see the thread in a local community group she’d tagged me in and yet it was a tag I wouldn’t want to miss so she texted me a head’s up. At first, I couldn’t understand why she felt it was so vital I see this particular thread. It was about a young man who’d stood alone that morning around his school’s flag pole praying in observance of the annual See You At The Pole day for students. Members of the community were chiming in, praising both the student and his parents. “I don’t know who he was, but his Momma and Daddy should be proud. That takes courage. He’s obviously a young man of great character,” one man commented.
As I scrolled through the pictures, it hit me—the boy who stood alone at the pole was my boy.
They were talking about my son.
The little boy I’d rocked to sleep in blue airplane pajamas when he was sick. The toddler who loved Elmo and couldn’t go to sleep without holding his Veggie Tales characters in his hands had captured the attention of our community by standing alone, by doing everything we’d ever taught him, everything we’d ever hoped he would do. I was completely undone.
I read on through the thread. People who professed no faith commended my son for standing up for his. Some folks said, “There are clearly still good parents out there.” Can I pause for a moment and tell you how rarely I feel like a “good mom”? As someone who battles chronic illness, the sensation of failing is a constant in my life. There is never enough of me to go around. I never feel present enough. There is never a time in which I can offer as much of me to my husband, my children, my community as I long to. And yet, strangers were praising my parenting.
I texted my son at school and told him, “You should know that people in our community are going crazy about a young man who stood at a flagpole alone and prayed this morning. They are talking about what an amazing young man he must be and how proud his parents should be. And I want you to know that your parents are so proud of you. You are an amazing young man. I love you so much.”
When Hayden came home from school with tears in his eyes we read through the hundreds of comments together. He told me with sheer amazement in his voice that as he stood alone and prayed the cry of his heart had been, “God, as people drive by, let them wonder, let their hearts be pricked.” He laughed and said, “It’s crazy because it’s like he answered in this big way!”
My son says at first, he thought he would simply pray until someone else came along. Eventually, he realized no one else was coming. Then, the cry of his heart changed. He asked that God would do something with his standing alone.
So to you, wherever it is in your life you stand alone, be it a flagpole or a marriage, a place of work or a seemingly impossible situation, I believe my son would like to remind you God can do big things with your standing alone. Perhaps, for now, you are praying until someone else shows up or takes notice. God sees, He knows, and He can do big things.