Saturday, June 10, 2006

The View From The Nest

There comes a time when life, which had been a whirlwind of activity, suddenly down shifts into slow motion. It never stays there for long so when it happens it is best to pay attention. Something important is probably going on.

Tonight I held my granddaughter. Elle is two weeks old today. She is not as big as my head and weighs far less. This was the first time she has come to my home. I think she liked it. At least she seemed to as I cradled her little body in my arms. I feel like a giant when I am holding her. I hope she thinks I am a good giant. The kind she can count on if things take a turn for the worse. As I held her I looked at my daughter. She looks just like she did before she told me she was pregnant. She has the same beautiful smile. The same pure and innocent laugh. But in her eyes I see a wisdom that she did not have before the birth of Elle. Somehow parents gain it at the birth of their first child. At least good ones do. My son-in-law has the same look. It is a look that says that they understand something about the universe that had not occured to them before. I think that this knowledge runs deep. It rings of life and obligation and responsibility. But it is more than that. It is about sacrifice and a total commitment to make something happen. Something good. Something good in and for their child. I think they might understand something now that I have wanted them to understand for a long time. We have always had a great relationship but I think it would have been even better had she understood it when she was living under my roof. But life does not work that way.

This afternoon I talked to my youngest son. He called me from North Greenville College in South Carolina. He is willingly taking on the role of a super-man this summer as he serves God by serving young people. Christopher is on staff at "Centrifuge," an incredible camp for teens held across the country. He is helping these kids in ways that they will not understand until much later. He is doing his best to introduce them to Christ. He is watching out for kids at risk, kids who are abused, kids who need a word of encouragement from an adult. That is what he is now. And adult. He still has a bedroom that he will spend more time in two doors down from mine. But he's spending less and less time there as days go by. It's all a part of the process. Christopher does not need to be a permanent fixture in my home. It would be detrimental to him. He has found his wings and he needs to exercise them. I think he flies rather well. And he is only going to get better. I don't think he has any idea how proud of him I am. And I don't think that I have the ability to tell him in a way that he will understand. Maybe ... maybe when he has his first child.

In thirty six hours my oldest son will climb into his jeep and point it north. The most crucial of his belongings will be in it. Clothes. His television. His laptop. His mountian bike will be strapped to the back. He will be back and forth quite a bit over the next year. But he will be more "forth" than "back." That too, is a good thing. He's twenty three and, other than my wife and I, has been the most consistent resident of my home over the past few decades. Now God has called his number and he's moving to the suburb of Chicago where he will be working as an intern at one of the largest churches in the United States. I fully approve of this relocation. But it does hurt. The hurt is tempered by the pride. The pride is enriched by the joy. The joy is a gift from the Father we both share. The eternal Abba. Scott is going to learn a lot during these next twelve months. He will probably come home a better youth pastor than I have ever dreamed of being. This is as it should be. I would like to know that I have not only reproduced myself but that I have improved upon myself in the reproduction.

You know. Come to think of it I believe I have done that three times.

My wife is staying home with me. She and Bailey the Killer Beagle will now join me as the sole occupants of our four bedroom house. It will be much quieter than it has ever been before. The pictures of three infants turned children turned adults will be looked at more closely and more often. There are no regrets. Not one. We have gone "three for three." God has given us far more than He owed us. That is one reason why we have taken that fourth bedroom and converted it into a prayer room. Our house has been a place of service as we have raised our children. Now it becomes a place of prayer as we launch them from the nest and into a world that might not welcome them but most certainly will not be able to ignore them.

If I were a betting man my money would be on the three of them to do a lot of "damage" for the Kingdom. It should be a delight to behold.


Anonymous said...

How gratifying it must be to watch both your sons grow into ministry!

Last night I talked to my own youngest. He called home from a college field trip in Montana. After that stint is complete, he will travel across to Minnesota for the wedding reception of his older brother, then will catch a flight to Warsaw, Poland. A team of 3 young people are going to help work with Christian camps. Son struggled with the decision to go, but felt God leading him. I'm sure he will come home changed...

Ron said...

Indeed he will. for the better. I will pray to that end.