I returned home on Saturday from a quick trip to Tacoma to see our oldest son, Nathan, and to help him to move out of his dorm.
On Saturday morning, we drive to the Seattle airport. Nathan got on a flight to Denver. From there, he made his way up to Sky Ranch, one of our ELCA camps outside of Fort Collins, where he’ll serve as a trail guide.
I got on a plane for home.
This was my first time actually seeing Nathan in person since he was home at Christmas. And unless Lori and I take a quick road trip out to Fort Collins to visit this summer, we won’t get to see him again until he’s home in the middle of August.
This is what we want, isn’t it? Part of the goal of parenting is to create independence in our kids. We want them to “launch.”
But that doesn’t make us miss our kids any less when they are away. I’ll admit the conflict within myself. I want our boys to be independent, to live their lives and to make good decisions. I just want them to do it all within about a mile of our home.
But it just doesn’t work that way.
I wonder if this isn’t similar to what God wants for us. God wants us to be independent…to launch. God has given us the gift of free will, we can decide to do whatever we want to do…even to the point of deciding that we don’t believe in God. We have that freedom.
Even though God loves us so much that God gives us that freedom, God wants us to draw close, and to believe. God wants us to launch and to go out in the world, but God wants us to do so with the intent to serve.
Sometimes I think we become confused. We think that the freedom we have is for our sake. Even more, the freedom that we are given is for the sake of the other.
When we step out into the world, when we “launch,” we do so with God’s blessing. But we also carry God’s call to live as Jesus teaches. Our freedom must be shaped with love.