SethCome Friday, our nest will be a little emptier. Son Number Three will throw a few boxes and bags into his Jeep and head south, an eight-hour drive to Nashville — the “country music” Nashville. Son Number Two waits for him there, along with freedom, challenges, new friends, a new job and untold new experiences.

He’s spent twenty years under our roof — give-or-take a few months away learning a trade he loves. Yes, he’s ready.

The truth is, the past several weeks have a been a little rocky at times. Coming back home after a season of living on his own, he’s chafed a bit under Dad’s watchful instructions to this Son/Employee, under Mom’s questioning “Where? When?” He has worked to fulfill his obligation to our family business, but always with his eye on the calendar. It’s understandable, this pushing off, this claiming of independence. We all know it’s time.

So, he’ll stack the guitars he crafted by hand alongside a few boxes of clothes, his treasured record collection and his turntable and speakers, and he’ll be off. It won’t be easy to watch that black Jeep roll down the road, but already I feel it — this acceptance, peace, a knowing that it’s alright. Because I know this man/child. I know his heart, his firm footing, his strong faith. It’s not something we’ve given him, but something he’s claimed for himself, something that’s already been tested out there in the world of doubters. He loves Jesus, clings to the truths and promises in Scripture. He’ll be okay — more than okay.

It was fitting that our Son’s last Sunday playing guitar in worship at our church should be a Celebration. We felt blessed to see him smile, eyes closed as he helped lead his church family in praising our Risen Savior. They love him, these people, despite his scraggy beard and dreadlocks. Or maybe because of them — they, too, know his heart.

“And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise”

Before worship on Sunday, I shared pancakes and conversation with another young man at our church. I’d seen his lanky frame and baseball cap a few rows down from our pew, caught sight of his lip ring and couldn’t miss the arms inked from his wrists right up under the sleeves of his T-shirt. This fellow has been coming to church recently with a young woman he intends to marry. Between them, they have a few children and they share a household.

While pouring syrup, we talked about kids, Easter baskets, music. He mentioned a prank one of his little boys had played, and we laughed together as I shared a story about my own sons’ mischief.  Between bites, he talked about his hometown in another state, about the day he was to appear in court but couldn’t because he had worn jeans with holes in them.  As we left breakfast to enter in to worship, it was good to feel that we are no longer strangers, sitting a few pews down.

I’ve thought a lot about that young man this week. He’s the same age as one of my own sons — that one of ours who also wore a lip ring and sports a couple of tatoos, who waits for his “little” brother to drive south to Nashville. The one who found his own way back to Jesus, in his own time.

Thinking about these young men, I’ve realized that somewhere, this new friend of mine has a Mom who held dreams for her Son — holds them still. A Mom who watched him walk out her door to make choices she couldn’t control. So I’ve prayed for her this week. Prayed she knows there’s another Mom who can see past the markings and piercings on her Son, can see into a heart that’s trying to do the right thing. I pray that she’s proud and that she is at peace.

And, I pray that she knows. Her son will be okay — more than okay.

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