Thursday, September 17, 2009


Journal for Christa—

Some mother images are set in my mind as clearly as a meticulously scrapbooked photo. One such image is of three-year-old Joy with curly red pigtails turning and waving at me from the back window of Dave and Maxine’s blue Volkswagen bug. She was going to the carnival with Angela, and it was her first real excursion without me. She was in good hands, for Dawsons were and are as close as true relatives, but I still recall a tiny pang at our first parting.

I used to listen to Dobson years ago, and one thing I recall is that our goal is to raise children that can leave us—not in the sense that they never return—but in the sense that they are grown up and independent. That requires a series of good-byes.

Good-byes take on a menagerie of feelings: some are necessary—leaving for college; some exciting—mission trips and adventures; some exuberating and hopeful, like the embarking on their honeymoon. Others are terribly prideful, as seeing Chris in his first youth pastor’s job, Joel’s commissioning, and Nate in his policeman’s uniform. Then some are just hard—putting Joel, Kim, and baby Breck on the plane just short weeks before his Iraqi deployment—leaving Melody with two tiny babies, knowing they’d get word of Angie’s death just days away—

So, once again this week we’ll say good-bye: this time to Joel, Kim, and the kids as they leave the States for three years in Germany. This good-bye is filled with excitement—excitement for a new job and the adventures of experiencing Europe—filled with apprehension because they’ll be so far away.

Unlike some other good-byes, I’ll stretch out my hand for the Sovereign Hand that scripts all our fates, resting in the old familiar Touch—a Touch I’ve known from that very first toddler wave, framed by a VW bug. 

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