Thursday, August 22, 2013

Around The Corner

Today I help my eldest daughter, Ellen, move to college. I’m not sure what kind of madness this is, that I am actually helping her to leave me. Oh, I know that some of you will tell me what a good thing it is that I’m doing, that I should be proud, that I should be happy that she goes so well-prepared and loved, and blah, blah, blah. But frankly? It’s one of the stupidest, least self-beneficial things I have ever done, and it’s killing me. I’ve lived on the edge of tears for months now, sometimes over, sometimes just short, navigating my days knowing that painful lunacy draws near. Today is that day. Happy? Hell, no.

Am I selfish? Am I self-centered? Well, yeah! Why shouldn’t I be, when love—the giving and receiving of it—has been the center of our relationship, and when my girl, who has lived at the virtual ends of my finger tips for all of her life and much of mine, just down the hall, will no longer be there. Someone earlier this week tried to tell me how I should properly look at this “coming of age,” this “natural progression,” this “opportunity for growth and faith in Jesus,” and I about tore his throat out. . .in Jesus’ name.

Yes, I’m grieving. Is that okay?

The only thing I’ve thought of that might help is a new slant on ministry. I’m thinking of laying aside the book I’ve been working on for kids and their parents for the last three years, in favor of the new title, “Children Who Leave You” (subtitle, “And The Parents Who Love Them”). What do you think? I’ll add a new page at entitled, “Parental Abuse,” and it will serve as an educational warning to parents (or to those even thinking of becoming parents) about the evils of feeding and clothing and caring for children (who have come from your very bodies, for God’s sake!), who then up and leave you!

Am I over-doing it? No! There have been other times when I felt this “love hurts” thing, like when I speak at a multi-day conference, fall in love with you people, and then either you or I leave and we never see each other again. That’s not supposed to hurt? It does! Every time. Well, this is 1000 times that. And, somehow, I’m to blame; I’m complicit in what should be illegal. I should go to prison for this! Somebody stop me! And, please, don’t tell me that this is normal, as if that will make the heavens part, and the wisdom of God pour out upon me. Normal for who?!

I’m assailed by thoughts of, “Have I prepared her enough?” and “have I paid attention to her enough?” and “have I loved her enough?” Frankly, the answer is “No.” And that’s because ONLY Jesus is enough for her, and she is set up by Him to find Him perfectly ENOUGH, as in perfectly loving, perfectly caring, perfectly involved, and perfectly capable in and through all of her days. He will see to that, and she knows it. Maybe He will do the same with me. Actually, He is.

Look, I know that I should be happily ushering my daughter into the next part of her life, into the days in which God goes before her, into the life for which He has made her and in which she will know Him like never before. And she will be great! I know. I AM PLEASED, and I’m fantastically confident in who she is. No kidding. But I am torn. And for me, that’s normal today. If I were to “suck it up” and power my way through all of this—you know, “Just have a good attitude,”—then what would happen to my natural need for Jesus? What would the two of us, Jesus and me, do together if I were busying myself with postured strength? That’s not the way for me. That’s not how I do life. That’s not how I receive Life.

While Ellen goes off to college with Jesus and around a true corner in the course of her days, I’m going around the corner with Him too.

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