When I woke up Taysia was still asleep. I quietly got out of bed and started to tiptoe out of her room, but she stirred in the port-a-crib. I glanced over, and decided that she was still in that half-sleep half-awake stage that little ones slowly evolve from after an afternoon nap. I knew it was not in my best interest to bend over that far or try to pick her up. At two, she was quite a chunk, and I didn’t dare risk a back injury so far from home.
I was sitting in the rocker in front of the picture window when the disturbance occurred.
"Honey, will you get Taysia...I don’t want her to sleep too long, or she won’t go to bed tonight. I’m folding clothes."
"Sure," Alex answered, glancing up from his studies. His schedule was unbelievable. He worked Graveyard shift while also studying for the ministry. He was getting A’s on his exams, so it involved a good deal of study time. His sleep was divided into "catch as catch can" and I wondered about the quality of that. I know how testy I get when my sleep patterns are disturbed.
He got up, placed a marker in his book, and headed down the hall to get Taysia.
"Oh, no! Oh, Taysia Ann why did you do that?" his voice was rising.
"What’s the matter?" Christen called from the bedroom.
"She’s all poopy!" he yelled.
"Well, change her...you can do that"
"No...come here! She’s taken the poopie out of her diaper and laid it on the sheet! She’s a mess!"
"Well, she just didn’t like sitting in a diaper full of poopie," Chrissy said quietly, going on with the clothes folding.
"I’m not doing this. I don’t do this!" Alex said angrily, "throw the sheet away ... it’s ruined!"
"Alex, you can’t throw sheets away every time some poopie gets on them...we’d soon be out of sheets." Christen was so calm I couldn’t believe it. Was this for Gramma’s benefit, or was she always this rational in the face of a disaster.
I ‘stewed’ quietly in the living room by the picture window, looking out on the rain forest view that I never tired of.
If I had gotten Taysia up when I got up this wouldn’t have happened, I thought.
Alex stormed down the hallway, to the living room, his face flushed with anger.
Christen took Taysia in the bathroom and cleaned her up. Soon she came out with dirty sheets bundled up ready to take down to the laundry room.
What’s a great-gramma to do in this situation? Try to talk sense to an angry young man? Keep my mouth shut? Look for an illustration in this? Butt out? It wasn’t on my side of the line. I sat quietly reading my book, rocking back and forth in the chair. Well, actually, I was pretending to read. I was praying. Praying for them to grow up. Praying for Alex to see the error of his way today. All was not perfect in paradise. It never was.
None of us mentioned the ‘Poopie incident’ afterward. Alex soon calmed down. Christen took the sheets downstairs to launder. Taysia was oblivious to the whole encounter. She brought the new "sounds" book that I had gotten her, and we began to read and push buttons for the sounds of the animals, as though nothing had ever happened.
A few months later, I received a tape in the mail. Alex had another opportunity to preach in their church. I was anxious to hear his message so I put it on the tape player immediately. He was getting better with each sermon he preached.
This one was about Changes and How We React To Them. Alex often used illustrations from their own family life, so I wasn’t surprised that he began an illustration with the words, "My little girl Taysia ... you know how cute she is ... well the other day she did poopie ..."
He didn’t leave anything out. He told of his anger. He told about yelling and stomping out and wanting to throw the sheets away.
"God spoke to me in that happening...he said ‘Alex...when you were dirty with drugs and sin ... did I throw you away? No. I cleaned you up and gave you a new life.'" Each sermon he gave his personal testimony and it bore fruit.
It was a much better illustration than I could ever have come up with had I decided to cross the line and interfere in their lives at a time of crisis.
"Trust me," the Lord had said that day, "I can handle this situation without your help!"
To hear Alex’s sermon, it is the one dated October 20, 1996. The day after he preached that sermon he lost his job at the warehouse. There were many chances in the days that followed to reflect on that Sunday night sermon. "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord, to those that are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28"
And they did. People grew and were blessed by the lives of these two young people.