Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

"I'm At the Airport!"

Our son, Jason has been quite fond of Jessi Schwetke, a girl who lives near us in New Baltimore. Jessi is going to Europe this summer as a student ambassador. She left this morning for her 30 day trip.

They were at the house Monday evening and we asked Jessi when she was leaving and where she was flying from. "Wednesday morning I fly out of New York but I leave Tuesday.", came the answers.

Tuesday morning, Jason got up early and told us he was going to take Jessi to the airport with her folks, Bill and Kat. Great folks. Some of you may have met them, they have been worshipping with us for a few months.

Later in the day, sensitive to knowing Jason's girlfriend was gone for a month, Kelly called Jason to see where he was and whether he would like to have dinner with us. He said, "I'd like to but I'm not going to be home until tomorrow." Kelly said, "Tomorrow! Where are you?" "I'm at the airport.", came the reply. "Which airport?", Kelly asked. "JFK! We told you she was leaving from JFK. I came up here with Bill and Kat to see her off."
Kelly got off the phone and told me Jason was in New York City with the Schwetkes! After recovering from our shock, we realized that they had told us all the details and we had misinterpreted them. We just assumed Jessi would be leaving from Dulles!

The whole incident was a funny reminder that we don't always communicate as well as we think we do. It also caused me to stop and think about Jessi and her decision to go so far from home. I was reminded of Ruth's trips to Russia when she was 15 and Botswana when she was 18. My heart goes out to Bill and Kat as I remember the mixed emotions I experienced as we watched her get on the plane (at Dulles, by the way). I was proud of her and terrified at the same time. Proud that she was so committed to her trip and terrified, not of impending danger, but of seeing her grow up so completely. I was somewhat concerned for her safety and welfare but knew, deep down inside, that God was with her and a much better protector than I can ever be. When I got honest with myself, I had to admit that I was more concerned that she might not need me. After all, any little girl needs her Dad, right?

There was the problem, she wasn't a little girl anymore. I wasn't so sure I liked that idea! On one hand, I had always been eager for her to think for herself but I never really thought she would have ideas and opinions that were different from mine. I never thought she might go off to some country 10,000 miles away from me. I never really thought she would grow up!

This is a hard things for dads, to see their kids grow up and move away. I can't imagine how hard it is for moms. In Gen 3:16, God tells Eve, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children..." The first portion of the verse implies that the pain of giving birth will increase but the second half of the verse implies that the pain of rearing, the pain of raising children and watching them become adults will increase. It's not easy for any of us to release our kids and trust them to God's care!

As I sit here in my chair, ironically enough, on Independence Day, I can't help but think of my kids becoming independent. I can't help but to remember Ruth waving goodbye at the airport and how empty it felt to see her walk down the jet way. But our kids do have to grow up and we have to remember that we are stewards of them, not their owners and there will, inevitably come a day when we have to let them go.

In an odd way, the act of releasing them makes it so much sweeter when they come back home. Now I realize that watching her walk away was part of watching her grow up but not a part of watching her leave. She's still my daughter. She still calls me "Daddy." I still love her and the moments we now spend together, while not as frequent as before, have their own special tenderness; two adults, brother and sister in Christ, sharing what God is doing in each other's life.

I also think about how God must feel when we walk away from Him, how sweet and meaningful it must be when we come back to Him, how patient and loving He must be while we are away, what a blessing it must be for us to call out His name and acknowledge our love for Him and how great a Father He must be to produce children who know who He is and want to be with Him.

1 comment:

  1. wow, remind me to get the kleenex before I sit down at the computer next time...