Sunday, July 31, 2011

Necessary Losses

I'm feeling a little sad this afternoon.  An hour ago, we put my baby boy on a bus that is taking him to camp for the first time.  Ok, he's almost 10, but he's still the baby boy of the family.  He was "a little bit nervous but more excited." Backpack and guitar in tow, he bounded up the stairs of the bus behind two of his best buddies.  After they boarded, we strained to see through the darkened windows as the three of them peered out and waived furiously... "good-bye."

This is my tender-hearted boy, who only a few years ago, couldn't bring himself to say goodbye to his sister as she was leaving home after a weekend visit from college.  "Mom, it just hurts too much." As I sat on the edge of the bed and watched my sweet boy unsuccessfully fight back the tears, my heart was divided. I never want him to hurt deeply.  I want to protect him from all of the evil in the world.  I don't want him to be disappointed.  I don't want his heart to ache.

At the same time, my hope is that he will grow to be a man who will love others well and live life to its fullest.  This is the kid who exudes life.  Whatever he feels, he feels deeply - both joy and pain.  You can't have one without the other.  I love his depth of emotion, but I'm sad for the self-protection that years and experience will most likely bring.  It's a paradox of sorts.  The very thing that I love about him is bound to bring him pain in life.

So it is with love and life.  Virtually every good gift that we are given comes as the result of some kind of loss.

~The butterfly - the end of the caterpillar
~The tree - no more a seed
~Wisdom - only after loss of innocence
~Marriage - the loss of carefree singleness
~Each new child - the smaller family unit will never be the same
~Graduations, weddings, birthdays - markers that a chapter of life has been written and completed

For me, here are a few to add to the list:

~Coming home to be with my family - the close of a rewarding career
~High school and college graduations - the shift in our family as 2 adult children launch their lives
~The wedding of our daughter - she's now under someone else's care

And now, a much smaller, yet still significant loss.  My blonde-headed blue-eyed little boy will come home to me having changed.  A bit more confident.  A little less dependent on me.  More aware that yes, there is life outside of our family, and it is good.  I'm thrilled that he's able to go.  I'm thankful for his opportunity to   have a life-changing experience in a safe, nurturing environment.  But yes, there will be loss.

Ultimately, I am deeply grateful for the gifts of growth, change, and reminders of my ultimate dependance.  My hope is to encourage you that in the dark of night, and in the melancholy seasons of loss and closing chapters, you will be aware that your heartache is evidence of you are living life fully.  That you'd look to times past when necessary losses led to deeper peace, greater joy, and a firmer foundation from which to live.  That you'd be comforted to know that indeed, "there is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under heaven."

And if you think about it, pray for my Sam (and his mom) this week.  :)


"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."  C.S. Lewis


Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast

I don't think he'll starve

A few more songs before we go

Have guitar, will travel

He's going to be missed

Mrs. Anderson and her ducks

Last "Good-byes"

Camp Lurecrest  -   Thanks for taking care of my baby boy...


Anonymous said...

Oh Julie! This is exactly what I needed to hear today! As we prepare to travel in 8 days to pick up our 4th child I am feeling SO SAD about the loss of our family of 5. I felt this way each time I birthed a new baby, but this time it is more profound with so many other unknowns. There is a loss, but with that comes incredible blessing that we will also experience. Thanks for sharing your heart today! It has certainly blessed mine! Amy

Cathi Duggan said...

I can so relate...Anna returns from camp a little more self reliant....and loved it(after not such a good first overnight camp experience 4 yrs ago. ...but in my mommy's heart I know it is just preparing her for the almost junior high yrs, then....oh wait, I'll just savor these moments!

Hugs, Cathi

Greener Trees said...

Ahh, the joys and pains of motherhood. I wouldn't trade it for the world.