A year ago, we sent our Sam away to camp for the first time, as is chronicled below. This afternoon, we sent him again. Really, little had changed. The packing list, the drop-off destination and time, the schedule for the week, all had remained the same. But we are different. Life is like that. We don’t love less – we trust more. We’ve had the experience of letting go for a time, yet we receive back. A pattern emerges, and we learn to identify that pattern for what it is while we are in the midst of it. The more we experience, the more we believe. The more we believe, the more we relinquish the illusion of control. Yes, through the little losses in life, we learn to trust. What we experience and see in the moment is not the end of the story. The end has been written – one where all loss is cast away into the darkness. An end where everything sad will indeed come untrue.
No, there was not a lengthy breakfast, nervous boy, or teary goodbye today. We’ve been here before. The scenery is familiar. And that, I suppose is a loss as well.
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 waved 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 dependence. 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.”
“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
|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|
|Camp Lurecrest – Thanks for taking care of my baby boy…|