I just launched a missile...I mean, wrote a lengthy missive to my 21 year old son, just now. It was one of those letters where you're trying to get things off your chest, so to speak, and trying to communicate love and acceptance at the same time. I felt like I was going through this hole in the rock, and didn't know how I was going to come out or come across.
I've been operating, lately, out of the dregs of my post-winter reserves. Which is to say, I've got about a quarter ounce of grace left. It's time for a big gulp of joy and some rolling-on-the-floor laughter which would rekindle my sense of humor, my sense of perspective.
I feel like there's going to be the clash of the titans, what with my son coming home for the summer. He's like a tornado of creativity and joy--but a tornado, no less. There'll be a lot of flying debris, a lot of stormy discussions, much laughter, a lot of pizza making, and probably some exclamations of exasperation on my part. The four of us are all adults (well, my daughter is 16--but 16 going on 26 as far as maturity) with well-formed opinions and personalities and preferences. Harry, our dog, is the only amenable one of the bunch. He will acclimate to every situation. He is the one with grace.
I don't know when I felt my reserves running dry. Obviously Old Man Winter took the majority of my joie-de-vivre. But it's also due to the fact that my son will be graduating from college in a little over a year, and my daughter is working a summer job and talking about college choices and ready to go off to college in two years.
And here's the thing about raising children: you never see when they become adults. Oh, technically they become adults when they turn 18 and then especially at 21. But there are so many times along the way that you have to intervene and coach them through things. And there is no clear end to when you'll feel relieved enough, or settled enough, about them and the decisions they are making and the experiences they are going through.
Safety Bill and I were sitting on the couch one morning last week and I had my feet in his lap and he had his coffee mug in hand and we both had our kids on our mind. We were talking about our daughter --who rarely makes us worry about anything major. But of course we're always concerned about her emotional state, her spiritual journey, her physical health, her academic choices. And then just when we had finished discussing one particular little issue in her life, it occurred to us that every choice in her life would then affect us. It wouldn't stop at college or marriage or career. We'd never be done parenting-- or with the concern, I should say, that parents feel.
I don't know how God does it: how does He handle the weight of the world, the numerous requests coming to him night and day, day and night? I would be so weary. I AM weary, right now, just thinking about it. I'm weary and....relieved-- that He is NOT weary.
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom."Is 40:28
Maybe contemplating that mystery alone--that God does not ever grow tired or overwhelmed-- will help renew my strength. Because my strength is in Him. My ability to go the distance, whether its in parenting or any other task or responsibility, can be tied into His ability to not grow weary-ever. He's fresh on the scene of our life, night and day. He refreshes weary parents. And weary wanderers.
I poured my heart out, in that letter to my son; telling him things I wanted him to know, reminding him of things I didn't want him to ever forget: things like I love him, like I believe in his ability to persevere and succeed, and that therefore I'm looking forward to what he's going to choose. I challenged him but I also reminded myself of some things as well. He's at a cross-roads of choices. But really, so am I, the biggest one being that every day I've got to choose to renew my strength or pay the price of running on empty.
But if I do remember to renew my strength in Him, this will refresh my perspective, which will give me a second wind. Sure, I'll also get pushed out further and further into the mainstream of life where the challenge of complex choices might tax me some. I'll get weary, often. But God never will-- and He's sustaining me. So, I know that there will also be those times where, once in a while, I'll get to soar on eagles' wings, above it all.