|Second day of school. 2013.|
On the first day of school my sixteen year-old sleeps in and his baby brother gets ready alone. The freshmen will have the high school to themselves the first half of the day and he is brimming—about to overflow.
“Your baby is starting high school, mom,” he says to me as he bends slightly at the knee to wrap his arms around me. “I know, baby,” I say. “You’re growing up.” “I have a mustache,” he grins, and I swat him away. “Hush!” I say, closing my eyes to that soft down below his nose.
I put the cinnamon rolls on the table, along with a bowl of strawberries—dusted lightly with sugar. But then I must go, time for me to get to work. All day long, I think of them. “It’s the first time EVER,” I tell my co-workers. “That we haven’t gotten a first-day-of-school picture.” I feel at loose ends, far away from them.
It’s like this every year, but I always forget. Until I must remember. After companioning them through the long days of summer this breaking away feels a little like birthing them all over again—they move out of the warm circle of my embrace and into their own physical space. Each year they become more and more their own persons.
This year we enter a new season. Now that Teddy is driving, these two precious ones no longer need their parents to drop them in front of that big brick building. Each morning they will pull away from the curb on their own. And though I know better, this morning as I stand in the driveway and wave them off, this backing out into the street feels like a pull away from me.
And since this is a new beginning, I turn the pages of my Bible to Genesis. I read the story of Abraham—his call and the way he wandered with all that belonged to him. I flip over to Hebrews, to that great “hall of faith” and it says this: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (emphasis mine).
I can’t help but notice that everywhere Abraham went on this faith journey, the first thing he did when he arrived was build an altar. So that’s what I do. I build an altar out of books and words and coffee. The candle flickers and I do not know where we are going.
Buy I obey. And go. Letting faith lead, worshiping along the way.