Last year I wrote a post called “From Dedication to Graduation” after our son Joseph graduated. Three days ago our third son, Jonathan graduated. My feelings shared in last years post apply again today, even as they applied to our first son Michael when he graduated three years ago.
I’m not alone. I know a bevy of missionary moms who feel the same bittersweet emotions of pride and angst of seeing their child graduate, then sending them to another country – or continent in most cases – to continue their lives walking a path thousands of miles away.
But it’s the crux of last years post that I focus on: what we promised when we held our child and dedicated him to the Lord. We’re releasing him back, and although a bit painful, it’s right.
Here it is, revised:
Our third son graduated from high school a few days ago and we are driving him back to the states today. His room, empty. Our hearts partially so. Being on the mission field, we realize he most likely won’t be able to come back to spend any school breaks with us, not even during the summer.
Several have asked me, “How are you doing, mom?”
“Okay”, I reply.
And that is the truth. I miss him already and suspect that feeling will only grow in the coming months. But deep down, tumbling inside together with grief, pride, hope, and loneliness for him, is some sort of calm – an assurance or contentment or something I can’t quite put my finger on.
And though I don’t know what, I do know why: because this is what we raised him for.
I was reminded of that in church last Sunday when a young couple dedicated their baby to the Lord. I flashed back seventeen and one half years and saw Mike and I standing with the guest preacher in front of our congregation doing the same. We promised to raise him in the fear of the Lord and to introduce him to the Savior. We promised to train him up in the way he should go.
He’s going now. He took the diploma with a handshake, moved the tassel from right to left, graduated with a smile, packed his things, and is driving out of our daily life.
These seventeen years were too quick.
Did we do well? I hope so, as there is no erasing, re-writing, or editing to be done as parents. We’ve certainly had our share of shortcomings, but we raised him the best we knew how and now it’s up to him to walk his own path with God…
…and with our never-ending love and prayers.
We love you Jonathan!