The Rebel Heart

My head barely hit the pillow around 11:03 p.m. when I heard the word “Mom.” My husband was out-of-town, our youngest was at Pine Cove, and our oldest was chatting with his friends in Discord (an online chatting service)…or so I thought. I rose from my sleep, looked over to the left, and saw him standing there. He stated that he was going to his girlfriend’s house. I immediately looked at the time and said “no.” He said he had to go. I was half asleep, trying to figure out why this kid was so adamant about going against my wishes. 

My son and his girlfriend have been together for three years, and she’s an amazing young lady that we all love. I regained my composure and began asking him questions in hopes of finding out what was happening. He said she was crying and needed a hug. When I asked for more information, he refused to provide it. He said it wasn’t his story to tell and he had to go. He continued to tell me, “She just needs a hug, Mom.” 

At this point my mind was racing, and I was continuing to tell him he couldn’t go unless he provided additional information. I asked about her safety; if her parents were home; and various other questions. He answered them with short answers and continued to refuse to provide any additional details as to why she was upset. All this teen boy knew was that his girlfriend was in distress, and if he could provide even a small amount of comfort for a few seconds, his rebel heart was all in. 

We went back and forth for a few minutes with me continuing to tell him he was not to leave the house. It was late. I was willing to forgo the house rule of keeping the phones out of the bedroom if he wanted to stay up late talking with her, I explained.

By now, I was standing at the top of the stairs and he was standing at the bottom. With his hand on the front doorknob, he looked straight up and into my eyes, apologized, and said he loved me but he had to go. His rebel heart blatantly disobeyed me, and before I knew it, he was out the door. 

As he walked out of the house, I began to pray, “Please just keep him safe.” It was 11:20 p.m., and he was out on the streets headed to offer the one thing we all need in our lives—love. I was experiencing the opposite of love at that time, which was fear. I was fearful that something was going to happen to my kiddo. But my heart was also full of warmth and love because I knew his father would do the same for me. 

Saint Irenaeus, a fourth century saint, defined the glory of God as a person fully alive, meaning, “Give me all: the good and the bad.” He meant, “Be thankful for all of it,” and I was. I was thankful for the stress and fear I was experiencing as well as the love, joy and pride of having raised a thoughtful, helpful, and caring young man. 

Our son was following his rebel heart, defying his mom in order to let his girlfriend know she was not alone, that he had heard her, and that he would always show up for her. 

While I waited for him to return home, I recalled the words to a song by Lauren Alaina, “If you trust your rebel heart, ride it into battle.” My son was just an 18-year-old boy who was in the midst of becoming a young man, learning to follow his heart. 

I can recall a time or two when I followed my own rebel heart against my parents’ wishes.

We all carry a rebel heart that on occasion needs to come out.

Sometimes heeding that rebel voice means waiting for the perfect job, missing a curfew, or ignoring your mother’s words and simply traveling a few miles in the middle of the night to provide your girlfriend with a hug. 

As quickly as he left, he was back home, standing by the side of my bed and apologizing. He sat down, and we had a wonderful conversation. He shared additional information, and we discussed the evening and various other topics at length. We didn’t fall asleep until 2 a.m. after we gave each other a big hug.

Tina Huey is a mom of two fantastic kids and wife of her hero, who also happens to be an incredible dad and husband. She is an avid reader, and a life long learner. She enjoys exercising. She loves to laugh—to find the ridiculous in adversity. She is passionate about life and living it to the fullest, being the best version of herself, and helping others in a positive way so we can all make this world a better place.