Separation Anxiety

A couple of years ago my wife and I experienced a separation anxiety that we had never before tasted. We had sent a few kids off to college by then. We had sent one to China for a month. We’re not the ultra-clingy type of parents that can never be away from our kids.

But this time was different. Our oldest son and his lovely wife went to spend a year serving in Honduras (read about it on Lessons from Honduras). Within a couple of months of arriving in the small town in western Honduras, our son contracted dengue fever. He was very ill. And we were very scared.

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A Boy and His Dream

This morning we did something that we’ve done a few times before. We took one of our kids to their next and most exciting adventure yet…and then drove away. It’s always hard, but this one was different.

My son Jon (about whom I have written before) is on his way to Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. In about four months he will come home and go to college. And, when he returns, he will be a different person – a different man – than the one that we hugged goodbye today.

I’m so excited for him. All of his life, from the time he could even formulate the words, he has wanted to be “an army guy.” He is living that dream – with all of the hardship and hurt and the exhilaration and adventure that goes with it.

And I’m anxious for him. He is away from friends and family. He will have very limited contact with any of us. And he will be pushed physically, mentally, emotionally, and probably spiritually like he has never been tested before.

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I Left My Heart in…Santa Rosa?

Eager to be home…not at all ready to leave…

That’s the way we feel this morning as we hug our kids and get in the car.

I have pretty well chronicled the wonderful adventures, learning experiences, and new friends we have made and encountered in this place, so, if you’ve been following this blog the last two weeks, you have some idea what a great trip we have had. And, to be honest, there are some challenges and frustrations about which I simply cannot share. Taken all together and mixed with the sadness that is natural with a couple more months and many miles of separation we find our hearts understandably heavy.

But…we’re hoping to make it back to see one of our boys play soccer tonight.

That’s the way of life as a parent…as a follower of Jesus…as a human.

We go, we meet, we share – and we separate.

We will forever remember this dusty, strange, beautiful place and the sweet people we encountered here – especially those with whom we worshiped and those who are loving and supporting our kids. And so, in that sense, we do leave a little piece of our hearts in Santa Rosa knowing that a reunion is sure – hoped for soon on this earth, but assured someday above.

And so, to our new friends – brothers and sisters – I would leave you with these words from our brother Paul:

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭3-4‬)

And to all of my fellow home-bodies who are slow to venture out of our comfort zones…I would simply remind you – and me – that the more we go and stretch and share our hearts, the more love we share and the sweeter the reunion will be.

This morning we left a piece of our hearts in Santa Rosa…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.