Every day becomes a thousand questions: Did we make the right choice? Will he be happy? Do we have everything he will need? Only living into the days will tell and so I read the Psalms, hold prayers on my lips, and practice trust. I stand in the middle of the yard at two a.m. and watch for falling stars. It is cliché to say that in the darkest part of night the light kindles to flame. But I have found this true, and we watch time ignite in his face with each passing day.
Only five more days until we drive Teddy off for his first year of college.
I keep trying to add weight to the moments, look for special things to do each day. His father and I announce with misty eyes, “this is the last time we will … together before you leave us.” And he smiles that slow smile of his and says, no, we don’t need to go to the state fair today. Why drive two and half hours when home is the best place? He treasures the ordinary moment—the feel of his bed in the morning, a door that closes, soft pelt of fur on Bon’s back.
I remember once, when Teddy was two, we returned home from a family vacation at the beach. Already his mind was bigger than his vocabulary. After the car was unpacked and the suitcases stacked in the kitchen, the little man walked into our living room and stood in the center of that place where most of our life is lived. He ran over to me and took my hand. “Mommy,” he said, face shining. “Our house is boo-ti-ful.”
This boy rarely leaves home and we will leave him so many miles from it in just a few days. We are drifting into a new season and I can’t steer the ship. Best to enjoy the scenery as we glide by.
Last night I finished Amber Haines’s new book Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home. Amber’s has been one of my favorite voices for a long time and this book is her love story—a story of diving into love and bruising the knees and getting back up to take love’s hand again. I turned down the corner on page 143 because of this:
… my striving against sadness had driven me to despair. In those days of gaining traction and of remembering my gifts, I remembered the gift of suffering, of sharing in it with Christ, and how I was actually made to live close to sadness, to bear up under the yoke, because that yoke is with my Jesus, the man of sorrows. To reject the shared suffering and sorrow with our Lord is to invite despair, and to walk as a burden bearer with him is to oppose despair. Sorrow is the very place that hope and joy intermingle, because without sorrow, there is no whisper of hope. Joy is a sustainer, the strength in weakness, and hope is what calls us forward toward our healing. In this world, we will have trouble, but our great Peacemaker walks in the sorrow with us, and he is our joy. He is our peace. He is our hope. Sorrow does not overcome.”
This, I know. I have felt the great twist of joy in my heart even in the midst of loss and fear. But somehow, in the context of Amber’s story the point settled into my heart and brought great comfort. She and Seth have weathered much in their young lives. Amber’s poet voice reminds me that without risk there can never be gain, that the only way to avoid pain is to avoid love. And what a sad and empty place is the heart without love.
Our dining room table is covered with all the things that fill a dorm room. Today, I will wash all the clothes my boy is taking with him—I want them to smell like home when he dons them far away. We will not go to the state fair as I proposed to him yesterday. We will stay here, in this ordinary moment, this place steeped in love.
Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.