Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Looking on the Bright Side

My son’s name came strangely. No, I wasn’t shopping for belts or even decorative electrical socket covers. I was driving to Austin. I knew I wanted him to carry his Daddy’s name, but I didn’t necessarily want two "Jeffs" in our home. We made up all sorts of combinations with Jeffery and everything fell short of “Bingo!”. As years have come and gone, I have found out that I am pretty sentimental. I like things to have a meaning--- from the chotskies that sit around in my home to the jewelry I choose to slide or fasten on. Our second child's name was no exception. So on I-35 S, in a good moment, I decided to ask the Lord, Who in His omnipotence was the One bringing this little bundle to us in the first place. Maybe He had an idea of what He wanted Sanders no.2's name to be. Even with my “reserved” personality, I can be dramatic and in true Southern custom, can be prone to exaggeration from time to time. However, God’s ways never need exaggerating. He alone creates drama and fills the galaxies with His Presence. He doesn’t need my feeble attempts of embellishment. About two minutes after I sought His input on my name dilemma, one of these blew by me:

I’ve seen them a zillion times. I had probably passed this same one before earlier, but I hadn't just been talking with God when I did. “Bright”. I loved it. While I was waiting for Jeff to answer my urgent phone call, I thought of Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, who had just passed away. To Jeff, it was the “Bingo!”. He tagged on the “o-n” and so it became Jeffrey Brighton Sanders. We knew nothing about our unborn son, but we loved all for which Dr. Bright stood. His passion for the gospel was real, directing and consuming his entire adult life. I also loved the verse in Proverbs that reads, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ‘Bright-er’ till the full light of day." All the Scriptures that speak of “light” and “shining” are beautiful to me. These are things we can pray for Brighton to experience and embrace in his life, but, for now, it is so interesting how many people comment on his “bright smile” or the way his face “lights up” when he greets them. As his Mom, I see this but I am also seeing how optimistic he is. No matter how many times I may say “no” to gum, he continues to ask. No matter how many times he has been told to finish ALL of his green beans, he continues to ask, “How many?” No matter how many times he complains about a certain friend, he continues to love and play with this person. No matter how many time he asks, "What's for dinner?" hoping to hear something other than "meat, vegetable and a starch", he still asks. With hope.

When Jeff was out of town last week, we made a stop at the library to pick up our books on hold. The line was a little long so I told the kids they could go over and pick out one DVD each. After about 30 seconds, Julia ran back over to me, visibly discouraged. “I can’t find anything!” I shrugged. She said, “All I see is Hansel and Gretel.” (Talk about tunnel vision) I knew some friends of hers had seen the play recently and she was curious. I told her Hansel and Gretel was fine with me. Now, I know it is a odd little story the Grimm Brothers came up with, but I would be watching the far-fetched tale with them and we could navigate through it together. It wasn’t until we were in the car did I see the cover. There were two kids, from maybe the 1920’s, on the front and the cover read, “Hansel and Gretel: An Appalachian Story”. I rolled my eyes. It reminded me of those hard to read books like, “Cinderella, a Cajun Story”, or “The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale”, or “Little Red Riding Hood: A New-Fangled Prairie Tale”. Just leave the story alone, I say. They are classics for a reason. "Creative license" is overrated. (My absolutely worthless opinion)

Once pj’s were on and smoothies were whirled, we all settled on the couch. It had barely started before all parenting senses were at stiff attention. The short film was dark. The father was a pushover, or maybe already pushed-over. The step mom was more vicious than Glen Close in 101 Dalmatians. I had wanted to turn it off before I did, but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to make a big deal out of it and that it would get to the zany and “far fetched” part that is more “fairy tale” and unbelievable. Worsening my plight, the camera work was just plain creepy, filmed from the watcher’s perspective. Wide-eyed, the kids kept asking, “Who’s watching them, Mom?” Well, you know how the story goes: the brother and sister finally get good and hopelessly lost and happen up on what was far from the original tale's candy coated “cottage”. Try a road worn trailer decorated with card board gingerbread men. Very strange...............and way too real. Think: home of one of America’s Most Wanted. Not NEAR “far fetched” enough. I began to get really concerned about what the "cook you in the oven" scenes were going to look like! Pictures of a dirty rusty oven kept closed with chains and padlocks rushed through my head. What I saw on the screen next were the ONLY typical “tale-ish” images so far and they were the colorful petticoats revealing Wizard of Oz striped socks and the typical black heeled shoe that all "proper" witches purchase who knows where. The camera worked its way up to “its” face surprising me with someone who made Chucky look like Howdy Doody with peeling paint. Frantically fumbling for the remote, I said, “Okay, that’s enough! I don’t like this movie.” Julia’s face was already buried in my shoulder. I looked at Brighton and he was staring straight ahead. He had this to say first, “Momma, their momma is MEAN. I don’t like her.” “Honey, I know. This just isn’t a good movie.” Personally, I didn’t see much difference in the step-mom and this freaky old witch. (Or is that the point?) This cruel woman ranted at the father and the children using verbiage like “you stupid fools” and “get rid of these two brats!” Squeezing my arm, Brighton went on, “I’m glad I don’t have a momma like that! But you know, Mom?” He broke his stare, looked at me and in all sincerity he said, “I bet if we kept watching she would turn out to be a good momma in the end.”

I put my arm around him and said, “Sure she would.” We closed the doors to the TV cabinet, poured in second helpings of smoothie, got re-situated under blankets and read our next chapter of The Railway Children and lived happily every after...............for the rest of the night anyway.


Alyssa said...

Your description of that movie makes me want to call the library and tell them to remove it from the children's shelves! Loved hearing the story behind B's name and seeing how much he lives up to it, especially in his bright burnt orange Longhorns sweatshirt. Hook 'em B!

Amber Smith said...

What a great post! Your description of the movie made me laugh! My kids had a similar reaction when we read one of the more "classic" versions of Hansel and Gretel a year or so ago. It scared them to death! Those old fairy tales can be just plain creepy! Loved reading the story of how you came up with Brighton's name.