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This is Familiar
I had such a hard time sleeping the night before. I dreamt about his life as if I was watching him grow all over again. When I opened my eyes and saw the time; I knew there was no turning back, this WAS happening. I walked downstairs and saw his bag. That’s when my chest began to cave; SO…MUCH..PRESSURE….
I sat still swallowing each ball of pain creeping up from my stomach, “be strong, be strong, be strong” I kept telling myself. The hour was here and every move was critical for us and him. We had nothing left but to huddle in prayer; every word was so intentional & powerful because we were united with a bond that only exists between us. After all, we’ve spent the last 18 years together in every season, every decision and every move.
The drive was a blur, every now and then I’d look up to see through the puddle about to spill from my eyes. The closer we got, the more intense all of my senses appeared. I kept looking back at him trying to take mental pictures of my son; but quickly so I didn’t make him feel bad.
We pulled up and for a second, everything felt out of control. These were the last minutes before he would step into his life and soar. A title wave called PROUD came and pulled me under. All I could do was look up at him and say, “I’m so proud of you, thank you for that.”
We got home and I watched as his father finally put down his strength and wept. I sat down and looked at the television and one of his favorite songs was playing. Me and his father looked at each other for several minutes speaking without words. Our eyes were full of “well; we did it.” “We raised an incredible human.” “This hurts man.”
The rest of the night, tears came triggered by thoughts and images like title waves, we just allowed them to come and we allowed ourselves to swim in it. Wisdom has taught us that pain is meant to be felt. In Tish Harrison Warren's book titled, (Prayer in the Night For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep) she says, “Feeling sadness is the cost of being emotionally alive.” She goes on to say that, “Unless we make space for grief, we cannot know the depths of the love of God, the healing God wrings from pain, the way grieving yields wisdom, comfort, even joy.”
The next morning, I was thinking about how both Garrett and I kept describing this feeling as a NEW emotion. However that statement kept presenting itself in my thoughts when it finally hit me, “THIS IS FAMILIAR”, I have felt this exact emotion once before…
Suddenly memories resurfaced and my mind's eye flashed back to finding out we were having a son, going through a very difficult pregnancy, experiencing the miracle of childbirth and very specifically the very moment we came home with him for the first time.
I remember we walked into our apartment, arms full of luggage, flowers etc. Garrett set the car seat on the kitchen table and we both just stood there in awe of our son. This tiny little human we knew, just committed highway robbery and broke our hearts forever; there was no turning back, he was ours. THIS was a NEW emotion; one we wouldn’t feel again until 18 years later when we had to let him go….
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing NEW under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
We are so grateful. There is nothing easy about raising a man of God. We worked hard for that character, that integrity and that courage. Looking back now as I am comforted in Christ when missing my son. I have been able to see how God was preparing (him and us) to serve in the United States Navy all along.
“3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
God bless and comfort all the people who serve our military and the families who miss them