Just back home from watching Godzilla with my crew. They loved it. I had to suspend all belief in order to love it. Oh, not that it wasn’t well done, for a monster movie. But really? I guess that is part of the fun of most movies, though, is suspending all belief.
Tonight my oldest son, Timothy, is going to his Senior Prom. Now THIS—-this I wish I could suspend belief about. I wish I could hold back time, just a little bit. Because it’s moving at warp speed, and I wasn’t prepared for this.
It’s not like this is my first child to walk through this with. No, two years ago, his big sister, Keli, graduated. And two years ago we were in the midst of the insanity that comes with graduation. Senior prom. Graduation outfits. Last concerts. Last musicals. Senior Class Day. Digging out photos of “when they were little” for slide shows. Making arrangements for company to arrive. Paying some outrageous fee or cost for something new everyday (being a senior is expensive!) So, I should be a pro at this.
But, I’m finding that for some reason, I’m not.
There is something different about Tim’s graduation that has be a bit stirred up. I’m not sure why. You would think I would have been more stirred up with my first child graduating. But, no, this is getting to my soul a bit more than seeing Keli walk that stage.
I think, part of it is, that Tim is graduating two years later than Keli. Keli graduated two years ago. And, honestly, two years ago I think we were all still in some sort of state of shock. Of numbness. Of disbelief, still, at the course that our lives had taken. At what God had allowed, through the incarceration of Jack. Oh, it was still a very joyous time–hugely so! I remember being so proud–so crazy proud I could barely stand it. She had done it! I’m still so proud of her.
But with Tim, it’s different. Maybe every child will be different, I don’t know. But we are in a much different place now with Tim graduating, than we were two years ago with Keli graduating.
I think, this season of prom, of “lasts”, of graduation, and of preparation to go into the Navy, is saying a whole lot more about my crew than just the fact that another child is graduating.
Instead, Tim’s prom, his graduation, his acceptance into the Navy truly has been about survival against all odds. About resiliency. No, maybe not resiliency. Maybe it’s just been about grace. Grace and hope.
You see, we all sense it. My crew and I, we’ve talked honestly and openly about it. There is a new aura of…how should I put it..relief? Gratitude? A realization that we are ok? Yes, I think that is it. A realization that we are ok. Better than ok. We are strong. Our lives—all five of us—are infused by the only possible thing that could have sustained us thus far, and that will continue sustaining us, and that is God’s grace. Pure and simple.
And I would have to say that I see it most vividly, or most tangibly, in Tim’s life right now. This is my guy who has struggled all his life with just normal stuff. Tying his shoes. Fine and gross motor skills. Reading social cues. And that was before Jack’s incarceration. And after the incarceration? He struggled with depression. Failing grades. Loneliness for his dad. A sense of lostness.
But, there is redemption. And that’s the beautiful thing about the Gospel, is that there is redemption. Because over the last year, I have watched a transformation in my son that is astonishing. His depression has waned; his self-confidence has soared. His grades, for the most part, have stabilized (I will say that graduation is still hinging upon an improvement in Physics, so there is still a bit of “holding my breath” going on). He soared in the lead role of Shrek for the school musical. He has found a niche of friends that love, respect and challenge him. He nearly flunked the Navy entrance exam, only to turn around and score an incredibly high score that will open up a lot of options for him. And, he has a date tonight. For prom.
And, in his words, “Mom, all these things? They could only be because of God.” And he’s right. God’s grace. God’s provision. God’s protection.
Oh, we still have plenty of hurdles to overcome. There’s that physics thing. And the “learning to drive” thing. There is an upcoming prison visit the day after graduation, which, even though it is a good thing, is also a source of stress and reminder of the pain of missing your father, and knowing your father is missing your growing up. Missing watching you become a man.
Godzilla this morning was entirely, completely, predictable. There was that proverbial moment, when it seemed that all hope was lost. Life, as we know it, was doomed. But then, the day is saved. By Godzilla, no less. (Like I said, pretty predictable)
But what is not predictable—even though it occurs time and time and time again in our lives–is the outpouring of God’s grace. Especially in those moments when everything is darkest. When hope is gone. When we can’t sense His presence. He is still there. Working. Seeing. Knowing.
And so, today you will have to forgive me. For I’m a bit stirred up. Stirred up at seeing my son turn into a man. Stirred up at, once again, God’s outpouring of grace. And–as strange as it might sound–stirred up at the reassurance God has granted me today that we are ok. We are going to be ok. Because He sees, knows and has not forgotten. And is working.