As I sat in front of my desk, pen in hand, I began to write out a check for my son. It wasn’t the first time I wrote a check to assist one of my children. For some reason this one was different. Why was I struggling so much with writing this check and not the others? It wasn’t about the money. We were doing well financially. It was my son’s second year in college. He was a gifted wrestler at a local junior college on a wrestling scholarship. He was preparing for a national wrestling tournament hoping to earn a scholarship to a 4-year college. His first year’s attempt was cut short due to his refusal to care for an ingrown toenail that required surgery. His second year’s attempt was questionable because he squandered his scholarship money and didn’t pay his school debt. He needed $800.00 to pay his bill and finish out the year. With pen in hand I slowly wrote out the check. When it was time to sign it my hand stopped. Something in me knew I couldn’t sign that check. He would be by the house in the morning, I told myself I would sign it then.
It was a long night. I knew my son was running from God. When he was young, we prayed the sinner’s prayer together. But now that he was 19 it was his choice. I knew he had to grapple with whether he would choose to follow the spiritual path we raised him in or whether he would choose another path. Everything in my mind said just sign the stupid check. It was his last chance to earn a scholarship to go on and wrestle in a 4-year college. Besides he needed an education if he was going to get ahead in life. The next morning as I sat down to sign the check something in my spirit told me if you sign this check your son will never serve God. I don’t know why I knew, but I knew. I couldn’t shake the feeling that to sign the check meant to lose my son. Despite my mind saying to sign, my heart was telling me not to. As I tore up the check, I didn’t know what the outcome would be, but I knew the choice was the right one.
“Refraining from action can, at times, be the most compassionate thing to do. The danger in rescuing is that it has the potential to place the other person in a position of dependance, getting in the way of learning; interfering in a process we have no way of fully understanding.” There is never a guarantee when making a tough decision. There is the risk of the unknown, or the unpredictability of the human response. Sometimes all you have is the assurance that the decision was the right one to make. In the space between knowing and not knowing there are times when assurance and doubt occupy the same space.
Life between my son and I was a bit tense for the next year. He wasn’t happy with my choice, but he knew that it was his poor choices that brought him to this point in time. His journey back to God wasn’t overnight, it was slow and there were challenges along the way. Over 17 years has passed since that day. Our relationship is stronger. He still doesn’t have a college degree, but he is serving God and actively serving in his church. He is a successful property manager and general contractor and his grasp of business vastly exceeds mine in every way.
 Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, Not Doing: The Art of Effortless Action, (London: LID Publishing,2018), 191