The thing about Ruben…

I’ve come to believe that even if I wasn’t his dad, I would want to know my son, Ruben.

He’s been through a lot of situations that most others would consider disappointments. But, he just presses on unfazed and determined to maintain a sunny outlook.

Putting aside all of the cool things I see in him through my daddy lenses, he’s just a really great guy. He has a huge heart, believes the best in people and is a really loyal friend. This last quality is something I’ve really come to appreciate because, frankly, the kind of loyalty and commitment he exhibits for his closest friends is a rare commodity these days. He and I were talking about this earlier today and I encouraged him to never change a thing, but to understand that his affable personality could also make him vulnerable to getting hurt from time to time. This happened to him earlier this school year.

He had a friend last year that he had come to see as his best friend at school. At first I was concerned that he may have had feelings beyond friendship for her, but after lots of conversation it was clear that this was a friendship like he has with anyone he considers a close friend. There wasn’t much contact over the summer with his school friend and he was really looking forward to reconnecting this year. But, as has happened so often for him, things didn’t quite play out the way he expected.

He went to a school event hoping to have some time to visit with his friend. I asked him about it when he got home and he just said, “I guess we’re not friends anymore.” Because I see the things not many others see without really getting to know him, this pretty much broke my heart. As he carried on through the year, however, I began to understand that his resiliency is pretty amazing. He’s much more of a “bounce right back” kind of guy than I am. This will serve him well in the years ahead.

Maybe Ruben realizes the truth of something Jesus once said to his followers. He said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16.33, NLT)

Very little seems to bother my boy. He seems to have a very clear and calm faith that things will be okay. He knows that life will be difficult at times, people will disappoint and things won’t always work out as planned. But, whether he realizes it fully or not, Ruben seems to know there is something that transcends the moment. There is an overarching reality that whatever may be difficult now has been overcome by Jesus and it’s enough to find rest and comfort in that.

I thank God for giving me Ruben. He’s teaching me things about faith that I’m not sure I would get on my own.

I love you, buddy!

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