Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Critical Moment Lost

"Mom, I'm home." Shawna dropped her bag and jacket inside the door and listened for a response. Her mother flashed a "be with you in just a minute" signal. After five minutes, she received an "almost finished" hand signal. This is stupid, Mom, Shawna grumbled to herself. It's Sunday. It's supposed to be family day. Can't you talk to these people later?

Finally her mother was off the phone. "How was it?" she said, swiveling toward Shawna. “Did you enjoy the conference?" It was the perfect opportunity to ask her mother about tolerance. "They talked a lot about being tolerant of other people," she answered tentatively, testing the water. "Being tolerant, that's good, honey," her mom said. Shawna blinked with surprise. "You think tolerance is good?"

Before Stevie could respond, Collin burst into the room. "Mom, I got to level X-fifteen," he chirped excitedly, video game in hand. "You've got to see this," he said, grabbing Stevie by the hand. Shawna began to fume inside at the interruption. She suspected that Collin was just as unhappy as she was about having to share Mom's precious free time. He left in a huff, unable to persuade his mother.

"I didn't think you would approve of tolerance," Shawna said. "If you mean accepting people where they are, of course I approve. That's what the Bible teaches. Jesus loves everybody just the same, and so should we." "But what about—" The telephone cut her off in mid-sentence and Shawna was in no mood to come in second to a brother or an advertising deal or the first governor of North California. She had finally ratcheted up her courage to explore this confusing topic with her mother. It was the kind of heart-to-heart conversation her mother always said she welcomed. So much for mother-daughter intimacy, Shawna thought as she left for Terilyn's apartment without leaving a note . . . she probably won't even notice I'm gone.

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