Our youngest stepped across the threshold into manhood a few days ago. With birthday cheesecake and a small gathering of friends, we heralded his coming of age — 18. And all this week, I’ve had one thought.
Where did the time go?
When did he stop spending hours building cities with Legos, racing around the lawn in a pirate costume, doing flips on the trampoline? How did he stretch to nearly six feet before my very eyes? And when did the chaos of little boys morph into the echo of manly voices joined in serious conversations around the dinner table?
It’s a bittersweet thing, seeing your youngest ready to walk out into the world. It’s what you pray for, work toward, what you expect…..that the boy will become a man you are proud to call your Son. But so soon?
On his special night, we gathered around and shared these blessings. It’s a custom not our own, but borrowed from a friend, so we were a little awkward at first. But as the friend started to share, the blessings flowed.
On his turn, Dad spoke of the Son he could trust, who could do a man’s work and be counted on to do it well. He praised his natural musical talent and told him how proud he feels to see both of his youngest sons leading our church in worship.
Brother gave the ultimate compliment: “If we weren’t brothers, I think we’d be friends. I don’t get tired of being around you.”
Eyes dampened by maternal tears, I told him what I knew — that his faith is deep, that he does not tolerate untruth. A tender heart beats beneath that tough-guy exterior, I said. And he doesn’t give up. He works for what he wants and humbles himself when it doesn’t always come his way.
Saying those words, and listening to the hearts of others who love him, I was reminded of blessings given in generations past. Prophetic words, bringing truth and life as they were spoken over men (and women) called by God, beginning with Adam and Eve.
“God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” (Genesis 1:28)
Likewise, God called Abraham and blessed him, saying “and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you: And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3)
To speak a blessing, to say the syllables full with meaning, laying claim to personal promises — there’s power in it.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” says the Proverb.
A blessing is a prayer fulfilled. Petitions whispered into reality. For 18 years we had prayed for this Son, as we did for his brothers, and on this day we were blessed to bless him with words not shared often enough.
When our boys were young, we read “The Blessing” by John Trent and Gary Smalley and promised to put its five principles into practice — hit or miss at best, but on this day we got it right.
As we spoke blessings, told of ways we see God’s calling on his life, this teenager-becoming-man leaned into it, let our words wash over him and sink into his skin. And he gave genuine, joyful, bashful thanks for this gift unexpected, our gift of blessing.