Befittingly after the service, people who we’ve known for years came up to bid her goodbye and it meant so much to all of us. One of our friends matter of factly stated that I looked too excited to see our daughter go. It must have been my smile that threw her off.
I pondered her statement walking home from church. I was trying to figure out if part of the reason we parents fall apart when our last child leaves the nest is because people expect us to. There’s a lot of hype about how we are suppose to feel and react when it happens.
I asked God for some clarity. How was I going to go through this transition? Immediately I thought of the opposite end of the spectrum. How did I feel when we brought our firstborn home? Maybe I’m strange but as soon as I laid our new baby down in her crib I knelt on my knees and cried “what have we done Lord?” All the mistakes I’d made as a teenager came flooding back through my mind. If it hadn’t been for Christ’s forgiveness, they would have revisited in stabbing, living color, but they were just faded memories of someone I use to know. Memories removed as far as east is from the west. Regardless, how could even a” new creation” possibly do right by the precious little infant smiling up at me?
My mind went further back in time to when I set off in my little red Chevette for Tennessee where I planned to attend songwriting workshops in Nashville. I was 21 at the time and all by myself. How did I feel? I was nervous to be driving across North America alone, but I was excited to be leaving everything I knew to focus on my new relationship with Jesus.
There’s something really special about jumping out of the nest when you know you’re jumping into Jesus’ arms. From what we know of our daughter thus far, and the choices she has made we believe she’s leaving the nest to fan the flame of faith.
So it is count down to Friday, four and one half days ’till she jumps on a plane, and then another and another. Four and one half days ’till she jumps out of the nest into Jesus’ arms and begins her own journey of faith. We as parents shared our story, our faith with her for a time. When she walks through the security gates at the airport – their story begins, Jesus and Julie.
Our daughter is planning to blog about her first prolonged trip away from home. While she is away I plan to blog about how it feels to have an empty nest. Together we’ll see how this new leg of the journey affects our whole family.