Monday, August 13, 2012

On the Last One Leaving

It's that time of year again, when parents are sniffling as they pass the rooms of their children who are packing to head off to college, or feeling a tight sensation in their throats when they contemplate returning to a house without someone precious in it.  With this in mind, a friend asked recently for me to re-post an article  I wrote for our state homeschool newsletter several years ago. At the time, I had just taken my youngest son and put him on the plane to head to college.  We were following later, and would see him in a week or so.  But it felt like a big deal to me!  So, here you go, Teri.  Hope it is an encouragement to those of you with aching hearts this season, Gentle Readers!

On the Last One Leaving

This morning, I drove with my youngest child the two-hours of highway through the desert of northern New Mexico to the airport at Albuquerque.  It was the first step on his 1500 mile journey to college.  In the back of my car were two large backpacks and three large suitcases filled with most of his worldly belongings.  But the most precious assets of the boy beside me could not be found by rifling through the tee-shirts and jeans, books, posters and CDs.

This fledgling young man has been the object of my wrestling and rejoicing in prayer for more than 18 years.  The Lord called his dad and me, first with his older brother, then with him, to leave what we knew behind us and trust God in their nurturing, admonition and education.  That led us often to struggle with them, and in that struggle, we discovered that the real enemy was us: our sin, our failures, our selfishness.  God used this young man, once a child, to make me what He wanted me to be—to lead me where He wanted me to go.  And wonder of wonders, in the process this young man became my brother and my friend.  He now bears the fruit of the journey we have been on with the Lord over the course of his life.

“You know to call when you get there,” I say.
“Yes, Ma’am,” he answers.
“And you will make daily time with the Lord a priority, and get involved with a good church right away?”
“Of course, Mom,” he says with a patient smile that reminds me he has heard this before.

Then he slips off to sleep beside me as he has done a hundred times before.  That gives me a chance to thank God for him quietly, for the privilege of nurturing two young men who now begin their own journeys to stand for the cause of Christ in the world.  Now I can let my heart overflow into tears without dampening the joy of his day.  He is ready and excited.  This is a day we have anticipated, prayed for, and dreamed of together.  And yet how can it be that it has arrived, already, on this beautiful, clear morning with a brilliant sun beating upon us as it has so often done?

It can be a daunting thing to drive back to an empty home which has been full.  And yet this is one more step on that journey from a place of familiarity to a place of trust.  The struggle, sweetness and fullness of the journey behind us makes the pain of leaving it more intense, but also makes the promise of the journey to come more inviting.  As I drive through the high plains desert back towards the Jemez Mountains, I rejoice in the God who has made all things well—the earth, and all those who dwell there—and who once sent out a Son of His own. 

1 comment:

Teri said...

Thank you for posting this lovely piece, Chris. It is an encouragement to many.