Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Life With Comic Books: Part # 155

The current cast of characters:
Paul Howley: age 45
Mal Howley: my wife
Adam Howley: my son, age 20
Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 16


As Cassy’s sophomore year of high school came to a close, Mal and I realized that things would be quite different for us. Adam worked as a waiter at a nearby “Friendly’s” restaurant and his scheduled hours changed from week to week. Cassy also worked at the same restaurant but on different shifts so we always ended up with one of our children at home with us. We loved our kids but we knew we’d never have peace and quiet while they were home. We began a search for a “get-away” cottage on a lake. We gave our requirements to a real estate agent and she began looking for an inexpensive place for us to buy. We couldn’t really afford to buy anything on Lake Winnipesaukee because it was the largest and most popular lake. Even a small, run-down cottage would sell for $500,000 on this lake. Since we lived in “The Lakes Region” of New Hampshire, there were dozens of other lakes with available cottages. She drove us around for several weeks but we didn’t find anything that seemed right for us. The search would continue.

Cassy and Adam usually got along quite well, but there were some problems now that Adam was back with us. He shared a bathroom with Cassy and the rule was that they would alternate cleaning the bathroom each week. Cassy was very thorough when it was her turn to clean it but Adam didn’t do a very good job. He’d leave wet towels on the floor, his whiskers around the sink, and he hated cleaning the shower. This made Cassy upset that he could get away with this poor cleaning job. Mal and I would ask Adam to do a better job but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference.

A short while before, at Adam’s request, we turned over Adam’s finances to him again. Although the “envelope system” had wiped out most of Adam’s debt (other than his large college loans) he insisted that he could now handle his money. Within a couple of months he was deeper in debt than ever before. Handling money just wasn’t Adam’s strong point. This also frustrated Cassy because she was very careful with her money and she worked hard at developing good savings habits.

Cassy asked me one day why I treated Adam differently than I treated her. How could I put up with so much from him? I related this parable from Luke 15:11-31.

Jesus said: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.' So he got up and went to his father.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

I explained to Cassy that I was just so happy to have Adam back with us that I could overlook many things that would have previously driven me crazy. We loved both of our kids but I felt that we had been given a second chance to teach Adam and I wouldn’t allow myself to be discouraged. Cassy seemed to understand.

Next chapter: Cassy’s heart gets broken.

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