Kin and Kidnapping
God's love for us despite all our actions
by Erica Green
Kin and Kidnapping - God's love for us despite all our actions
If you have grown up in a house with brothers and sisters or if you have more than one child you will, I am sure, be aware of a phenomenon called sibling rivalry.
There is so much written these days by child psychologists and others on sibling issues. Middle child syndrome, sibling rivalry, how to stop child No. 1 from killing child No. 2. What to do when baby number two comes home from the hospital. When you cut through all the psychobabble, sibling rivalry means that brothers and sisters argue and fight … a lot. This is the natural order of things. Some sibling altercations can even be quite serious and can impact relationships for a lifetime. However, as I recall most are of little consequence and are about the silliest things that are soon forgotten. Even if at the time they are deadly serious.
So let me set the scene for you and tell you a little story from our family when I was growing up. I must have been about 7 or 8 years old and my brother was about 12 or 13 years old. Because my brother was older than I, he had been allocated the task of making sure that little sister got to and from school safely. Now as if this was not bad enough of a chore for any teenage boy, just add to it three other contributory factors.
- Firstly, he had a pushbike to ride to and from school and I did not. (There was obviously something sadly lacking in my upbringing as I never did learn to ride a bike properly, nor did I ever have an inclination to own one.) As you can imagine there is a slight difference between walking and riding speed, which would have added to the already present frustration level at being lumbered with little sister.
- Secondly, 'dinking' (a lift on the back of a bicycle) was not an option either. If you were caught engaging in such dangerous activity (as forbidden by the hierarchy of the school either within or without the school grounds) you would be in big trouble.
- Thirdly, as if one and two were not sufficient, when I was with my brother we were also not supposed to take the short cut through the narrow alley way which ran the entire length of a block between two warehouses. This was considered to be a dangerous thing being out of site from anyone and meant that instead of a 5-block walk it ended up being more like 8 by the time you walked around the block. Little sisters can be such a pain!
So given these constraints the process went something along the lines of:- older brother riding along side going back and forth like a circling vulture all the way to school.
On this particular morning in question, we were undoubtedly not happy with each other. I had not remembered what had actually caused this rift, but recently I asked my brother and he was able to fill me in. (I am going to be in such trouble if Alzheimers hits as my long-term memory is already shot and so if the short term goes as well I am in deep trouble)
Apparently it was all because of an argument the night before over the kitchen sink. Who would wash and who would dry was I believe the contentious issue. It seems that this was a big thing in our house but I cannot now for the life of me understand why. I had not put these two stories together before but this was probably the occasion when I had smashed a dinner plate over my brother's head during the nightly chore.
This issue had carried over into the next day so it must have been a 'doozey'. I did not want him around and he did not want to be around. I was dawdling as much as I could, muttering under my breath. As you might well imagine, big brother was getting very impatient at this and rode farther and farther ahead out of sight.
As I was muttering and dragging my feet along the street a car pulled up along side and the door on the street side swung open. Now we had all been taught about 'stranger danger', although I don't think that is what they called it back then. Whatever it was called, we were told not to talk to, or to take lollies from strangers and never to get into a car with anyone that we did not know, because there were bad men about that would take you away from your mum and dad and hurt you. (Never bad women mind you, only bad men. I am sure that this had some sociological significance)
The man asked me if I knew where a certain street was. I had no idea whether this was a genuine "bad man" situation or not after all he had not offered me any lollies, or asked me to get in the car with him, but that first question was enough for me. My mother would have been proud of my paranoia. I let out an almighty scream, which stopped my brother from two blocks away and sent him peddling as fast as he could back up the street. This outburst was also sufficient to send the "bad man" off with a slam of the car door and a screech of tyres. Given this response, perhaps one could conclude that he was a 'bad man' and had a reason to run away like he did. (This scream, by the way, was later to be exhibited at the local school concert, associated with an exchange between rodent and old lady, but I digress.)
My brother who had by then determined that an emergency of this nature was a good enough reason to break rules, pulled me up onto the back of his bike and 'dinked' me the rest of the way to school, via the forbidden alleyway.
Upon arriving at school he then reported the incident to the head master. A police constable came to the school to take statements etc… and was pleased that my brother had the forethought to have scratched the car's number plate onto the front of one of one of his schoolbooks as we took off.
I don't remember much about the process from there on apart from being asked by the policeman what kind of car it was and having to write my name on some papers. My major concern at that time being whether I had to sign my name in proper running writing or whether printing would do. If that was all that I was concerned about, the whole experience obviously had not caused too much long lasting emotional trauma.
I don't think that I was really much help to the policeman in answering questions either as anything smaller than dad's car in my mind at that stage was a mini, which of course it wasn't.
I don't even know whether they managed to catch the guy or whether some poor innocent man looking for directions had just been given the fright of his life. But what I do know is that I learned at least two lessons from this incident:
Firstly, I learned that when it really counted my brother was there for me.
- No matter how badly behaved I had been. I did not have to try and mend the broken relationship before I could expect help.
- I did not even have to articulate my exact need there was no time for that and anyway it was obvious to him if not to me.
Secondly, I also learned that there are some things that are not really that important in the scheme of things and are not worth getting your knickers in a twist over. Potential kidnapping beats dishwashing dispute hands down.
The bible often talks about us being part of Gods family. So I would like to draw an analogy from this story and from a text in Psalms 118:5 (KJV) From my distress I called upon the LORD; The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
Firstly-God is there for us despite how we have behaved.
- The only prerequisite in this text is that you are in need and that you call out.
- The text does not say I called upon the Lord, confessed all my sins, made amends and then finally the lord heard me.
- The minute the scream is out of your mouth he is on his way.
Secondly-Sometimes I believe that part of the answer to our prayers is a realization that the issue that we are struggling with is either
(a) not our issue to worry about and that we should give it away or
(b) not worth worrying about in the overall scheme of things.
Sometimes I wonder whether His answer to our cry is to, as the text says, take us to a "large place" to give us a larger vision, so that we can see things in their correct perspective and get our priorities sorted out. Sweating over dishwashing disputes is such a waste of psychological energy.
So if you are one of those worry wort types and you are knee deep in distress, I would like to encourage you to call on God and to keep an open mind to the possibility that part of the solution that He can provide is a realignment of your view of what is important in life.
Lord, take us to 'a large place', give us a broader vision and set our priorities straight. Help us not to sweat the little things but to use our energy for the things that really matter.
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