I’m dealing with some unexpected feelings that I think I’ll talk about here just in case it might surprise or help someone. I stated earlier today that I have feelings of joy, happiness, appreciation and expectation, however I didn’t expect the other feeling that came along today, the one called sadness. Keep in mind that not one of our sons had yet traveled outside of the country. Jay is the first. For the past two months, we have been in preparation. A lot of time was spent just getting answers to questions. Every time I thought of something or someone else thought of something, my self-appointed job was to research it and find the answer, and when there were conflicting answers, i was to poll the audience and find out what the truth was. It was intriguing, enlightening, stressful, and in the end hopefully helpful.
So after two months of research, planning, and preparation the day finally came. I had expected relief once he got on the plane in Charlotte, but instead I cried, not a lot, just a little. And as I’m busying around the house straightening up. . . because 1. It needed it, 2. Larry would appreciate it, and 3. Jay was not here to do it. . . I kept seeing things like his blue t-shirt that he likes, and he didn’t take because it was the last thing he wore, and it wasn’t clean. What will he do without it? Then I spied the business card for Chick-fil-a that wanted him to do their windows; an account welcome at any other time had to be turned down. And then I cleaned up evidence of last minute purchases for travel wallet and neck pillow. All reminders, that the last of the three cowboys has flown the coop. If I get the remotes messed up, who will rescue me? And if the internet goes out, oh my, let’s just hope it doesn’t. And who will stimulate endless conversations on the beach, at Sir Pizza and the Barbecue House?
This fine young man, the last of three amazing men who were babies, then little boys, then teenagers, now adults, will be gone for two months. Then more adventures are surely on his horizon, leaving Larry and I with the impending “empty nest.” I didn’t see it coming, and here it is, or is it?
Do you know that we actually never experienced the “terrible two” syndrome? Honestly not one of the three was a terrible two. You will find this difficult to believe but neither did we have “rebellious teenage” syndrome. Not to say that they, or we, were perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we just never felt we experienced those stages to the degree that others had. Some told us it was inevitable, yet we have other dear friends who also skipped these maladies.
The point here is that yes, it is possible, dare I say even probable that the Jordan’s will escape the terrors of “empty nest” syndrome. Will the nest be empty? Yes, eventually, it will. But as is His Way, God will provide the grace available to add a few more feathers to the nest to make it more comfortable, and we will be just fine. I may not be fine this exact moment in time, but in a minute I will be and ever so thankful that God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and three fine sons, a beautiful, loving daughter-in-law and precious grandchild. We are truly blessed.
These are my thoughts as Jay makes his sixteen hour way through four airports, dealing with security, customs, connections, communication, baggage pick-up, airplane food or lack thereof, and finally into the waiting shuttle to take him to Herrnhutt, Germany where he will experience sixty days of worship and intense training with leaders, teachers, and other students all who have the same desire to go deeper in the things of God through their instruments and worship. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
There you have it: my thoughts and feelings about today as I wait to hear that he has arrived at his destination. I must pull a life lesson from my story here, for that is the purpose of the blog. The lesson begins with a question. How were the Jordan’s and others of their friends able to avoid terrible twos, rebellious teenagers and empty nests? What contributing factor produced such astonishing results which defy the American culture. I have to say, my theory is that we didn’t embrace the concept. We didn’t accept the idea as viable. We did our best to obey God and discipline our children as we believed He wanted us to, and we expected the right results. We embraced God’s faithfulness in bringing His desired end. We have not been disappointed. So now with the third phase making its appearance, we simply don’t embrace it. We live each day to the fullest, trusting God for His grace and being grateful for our blessings!
Another question might bring some further relief and encouragement for one experiencing a day like today. How can we experience the unpleasant feelings associated with change, yet avoid letting them bring us down until full-blown misery and heartache prevail? When moments of sadness, negativity, maybe even pain come along as they often will, we simply do not embrace them. We experience them, and we direct our prayer and our thoughts to what God has ordained, and we embrace that instead. And then we move on to our next moment. This is daring to be happy.