Thursday, April 6, 2017
The big boy leaves for Europe tomorrow...without us. It's a strange feeling, this letting go. I remember the first time I felt it. He was 3 years old, and Bill's Bus came to our Plum Street house to pick him up for preschool. I wrote in his baby book (yeah..he's the only one of our kids who has one of these) that day that I was worried he would get drunk and high and have sex all on the preschool bus on Day 1. Of course, that worry was unfounded, but it was my first taste of letting go. Up until that point, I was the major influence and authority figure in his day, and that was about to change.
And here we are, 13 years later, and he's flying across the world for nine days. He will have such a great time. It will be yet another reminder to him that this world is SO much bigger than our little part of it. I WANT him to go. I'm so excited for him. And yet... this mama heart and stomach is feeling a little bit of angst, if I'm honest. What if something happens? What if we aren't there to help him? What if... Honestly, those what ifs are not unfounded. Things happen. Most likely, everything will run like clockwork, and, a couple of weeks from now, we will be looking at his pictures and hearing his stories. Realistically, the what ifs may come true, though. Something might happen. He might need our help and not have it. The really amazing thing about the hope we have in the Father is that we will all be alright either way. Our hope is not in everything going ok or in our ability, as parents, to be there when he needs us. Our hope is in the fact that someone loves this boy WAY more than we do, and HE is able and present, both when I am present and when I am not.
And so, we send him off. We buy the outlet adapter and we pack the extra memory cards for the camera and we tell him that we can't wait to see his pictures and hear his stories. We do this because we know no other way to love, to allow growth, to parent...
I'm reminded of this blog post I wrote in July 2006 when the roles were reversed. It is no less true today:
We’re en route to Haiti as I write. We left Marshall at 10:30 this morning. My heart was heavy, yet hopeful, as I left two of God’s most precious gifts in Marshall. The heaviness came from knowing I will miss them—their smiles, hugs, kisses, orneriness—and they will miss me—my hugs, kisses, my lap, my touch in the middle of the night. The hopefulness came from knowing they will become more like Jesus and I will, too. This is so much more than a mission trip to Haiti for me. It is a statement TO the self in me that is still left MADE BY the Jesus in me that I hope is growing daily. The Jesus in me is saying that I choose to live fearlessly. Nothing is worth more to me than bringing glory to my Father. My comfort, my peace, my safety, and my agenda have no value to me. They have been crucified. Even the comfort and safety of my boys is not more important than walking daily right beside my Savior. I have felt uneasy about going to Haiti from the very first mention of it, and yet, I feel no uneasiness at all because I know my Father and I trust Him. Who else loves me like He does? Who else knows me like He does? Who else loves my boys like He does? I rest in the shelter of His wings. I lay my boys in the shelter of His wings. There is no safer place.