Monday, August 15, 2011

Reflecting at summer's end

It's mid-August, but with schools starting this week, for me, the summer is at its end. It's different this year. Carrie keeps in touch more through Facebook, Twitter, and texting than in visits home, which is appropriate for a college senior. Her life is now her own, and we're letting go more and more as she begins to establish herself as the adult she wants to become. Corinne begins that journey this week. We moved her into the dorms yesterday, knowing that she will likely not live at home again. It's an exciting adventure for her. Caty Mae is the only one at home now, but school began for her today, and the house is quiet. It even feels emptier. And that's the way it is supposed to be.

We raise our girls to be strong and independent. They make their own choices and live with those consequences. Sometimes they choose well, and other times, well, we wish they listened better to us. Each has a future that is hopeful and positive; there is no reason to suspect otherwise. Yet I wonder what they will learn from their choices. Will Carrie regret not being more proactive in finding a fellowship of Believers? Will Corinne look at the grudges she holds and see how bitterness damages precious relationships? Will Caty Mae hold her ground on the things that matter and engage in conflict at the right time and in the best way? I can't know these things, but I can pray for them fervently, knowing that God sees through eyes even more loving than mine.

Everyone wants the perfect happy family, white picket fenced house and all. But the reality is that it doesn't exist. There are those who are blessed with happy children whose nature is to please. There are those whose marriages improve over the years without much effort. There are those who never deal with the tragedies of loss--whether it be lost jobs, lost opportunities, lost or wayward children, lost parents and siblings and friends--some float though life smugly assured that they haven't suffered because they are BETTER. Deep inside, though, even those will deal with loss, because they will not have experienced the depth of joy that only grief can allow. That self-satisfaction prevents them from a walk with God that is raw and real in many ways. So often they refuse to break out of that self-imposed "christian" bubble, limiting their experiences with God to the comfortable.

I don't want to be comfortable. I don't want my girls to be comfortable. I want them to live their lives with passion and fire and exuberance. Comfortable is easy, but comfortable is lazy. There's too much out there that God has planned for us to be satisfied with laziness. Strength and endurance come by throwing off the things that make life easy and running after God's best with all out heart, mind, soul, and strength. That's where the joy is. That's where delight comes from. That's what I want for my girls. That's what the Father wants for me.

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