I rub my tempes and mumble the phrase, “We all do the best we can with what we’ve been given.” It’s a great thing to remind yourself of when you feel like punching someone in the face. It doesn’t always work though. I breathe deeply as the driver of the beat-up pick up truck who just cut me off in traffic tosses yet another piece of trash out his window onto the expressway. I can feel the initial prickle of my anger dissipating as I remember that if I had been dealt the same hand in life as this guy, I’d probably be cutting people off and littering the earth too. No one’s really any better than anyone else, we are all just doing the best we can most of the time.
I turn the dial on my car radio and the song Lost Boys comes sweetly singing out of the speakers. Sitting there in a sea of red tail lights and preoccupations related to my work day, I change the station before the song is even over.
The night after a particularly rough and rage filled night, our foster child asked me to color with him. It was the start of a new bedtime routine. All of my hopes of keeping his engagement and sense of calm hung on those coloring book pages and 38 different colors of freshly-sharpened pencils.
While coloring together, he requested a song, Lost Boys. I fumbled through my phone and streamed the song through YouTube, praying the song wouldn’t freeze and thanking God for the start of a more peaceful night.
And then he started singing along.
It was like my very life force came to a screeching halt and all there was was his voice. My soul was struck by the resounding truth and validation of the lyrics with his circumstances. A song of being a lost boy, of following Peter Pan to Neverland and finding a place to fit in, despite the hand life has dealt you. My throat was tight and my eyes welled for a moment. We kept coloring. Coloring and singing of lost boys and Peter Pan.
We all do the best we can with what we’ve been given. And that night, I did the best I could with a coloring book and a song, and so did he.
It occurred to me then that maybe that’s all I had to do. Be a temporary Neverland. Let a kid be a kid in the midst of the chaos and messiness of life. Chaos and messiness that can happen to any of us, the best of us.
“Neverland is home to lost boys like me and lost boys like me are free,” we lifted our voices together and the music notes danced on sketches made from colored pencils and the two of us doing the best we could.