It’s just another ordinary day. I get up, wait for coffee to drip and send the youngest off to school. I read, make the bed, all the while lifting up prayers for those who come to mind. There’s nothing special about it, no major change in the morning’s routine. My middle son comes to mind and I pray…for safety. My husband sits clanking on computer keys as he works and the house is wonderfully quiet. I love mornings like this.
I head off to work humming a Christmas tune. Just another day, like most days…until the phone quacks. Yes, quacks. At some point someone in my home set my phone on quack when he calls. I’m betting it was him, but you never know around here. Quack, quack, quack! I answer the phone with a “hey son!”
He tells me about his mishap during the hunting trip. How he went hunting alone because his friend didn’t show. How he sat and watched yellow leaves land gently on rippling water. How on his way back a tree fell on his boat. What? Back up a bit. A tree fell…on your boat?
I guess you’re o.k. because I’m talking to you right now. Right? He’s been shaken, and honestly he needed it. This child walking the tight rope of boy becoming man thinks he is all wise and knowing. Natural caution or fear has never coursed through his veins.
At the age of one he walks off the edge of the pool and I dive in to retrieve him. I climb dripping up the ladder and move away from the water’s edge. No tears stream from his eyes…no scream exits his lungs. He just stands there all chubby as I dry him off and back to the water he runs.
This is the son who has broken his arm…his leg. He’s been stitched up, banged up and turned his truck on its side. He’s determined, he’s loving…he literally scares me to death! When he calls with a “uhhh, I need to tell you something” I hold my breath.
We finish our conversation about boating safety…hunting safety. I ask what he learned from the tree falling experience and we number off the precautions his dad and I have said like a mantra for years. We talk a bit about God, his word…priorities and I hang up the phone.
This is where the battle begins. My mind goes crazy with all the “what ifs”. I considered what it would take to make this boy safe. I played with the notion of no more hunting…or fishing. No more driving…or school…or work. I thought I might just relegate his living to his room, and considered the danger of a shower. I’m not kidding. No matter how far I pushed this safety issue, something dangerous popped into my thoughts. This parenting of teens becoming adults is the hardest job ever. Way harder than babies crying at night, and toddlers screaming no. Harder than fit throwing four year olds and kids refusing to turn in their homework.
Let’s not even think about if I’m doing it right. I had tons of ideas on how my kids would be raised. That was before I actually had them. Now I have two entering the adult world and one close behind, and I hope I haven’t caused some irreversible damage.
Later as I watch some hunting show with the youngest son a commercial interrupts my “what if” thinking. A mother holding her newborn close comes on the screen and I remember when my own children weighed less than ten pounds. I glance over at the one who is taller than me sprawled out on the couch and the thought comes…all of life is an exercise in letting go.
All of life is letting go, and I let go just for you.
Can you see it
God creating this world, making man in His image, breathing life…letting go.
God guiding, directing His people. Giving them the safety talk and…letting go.
God weighing less than ten pounds, wrapped in strips of cloth, snuggled in a young teen’s arms…letting go.
There in the shadow of the cross a baby lies in the manger. He’s not just another ordinary child, and this is no ordinary night. He’s God’s Son. Destined to grow, destined to lead…destined to die. Even in the shadow of a horrific death…God let go.
They say old habits are hard to break and this holding on to things is something I brought with me from the Land of Not Enough. Living in a world of “not enough” teaches you to hold on tight because in the land there is never enough…never enough time or energy, enough money or stuff. No one is safe enough or secure enough and no matter what–enough is never enough. You find yourself white knuckle gripping everything in your life while trying to grab for more. It is a never ending cycle I jumped off of some time ago. Still, there are things that remain from the not so good ole days.
All of life is an exercise of letting go.
This is the message found at the manger and the cross. God opened His hands…His heart and let go so that we might live. Not to live holding tight to the things of this world as if they will somehow save us.
This Advent I’m letting go of more. In fact, I think I’ll give not holding anything a try. Instead I’ll stand hands wide open and trust. Trust the one who let go of His only Son to teach me to do the same. I’ll trust His wisdom…His way…His timing. I’ll let go and trust Him to do all the holding because when I do I find the one thing that is always enough.
I find freedom in the letting go…