Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Our younger son, Mac, is graduating this year. Jay graduated last year and it seems like I did a lot of posts about the matter and so I’m trying not to do the sequel this year and drag you guys along. Been there, done that, huh?
I know that there’s a prevailing attitude that “these kids today” really have it made. Do they? I think not. I think it’s hard, being a kid. Turning eighteen, graduating, decisions. When I hear an adult waxing eloquent about the ease of coming of age compared to the old days or the stresses of being whatever their own age is; I think one word...arrogant. Give me a break.
Mac is a really good kid, a fact for which I take no credit. It’s all him and God. Someday, with his permission, I’ll post his testimony. He wrote it a few years back and it says it all. He’s a young man who works diligently at finding the God-path and walking it. If you think that’s easy, you’re not on the path yourself.
There’s a weight of decision-making on the backs of teenagers. It tells them that one wrong move, one misstep and all is lost. There’s a voice whispering in their ears insisting that if they don’t have it all figured out and tied up before commencements, they are failures. I think that’s why so many of them give up before they reach senior year. And we, wanting to inspire success and greatness in our children add to that burden. It’s a barrage of pressure. I’m going to tell you right now, it’s a wrong message. I’m going to tell you what I have told my boys, there are three things that will change the course of your life in a way you can’t reverse...
1. Not serving God.
2. Getting married unwisely.
3. Having a baby before you should.
That’s it. Taking the wrong classes or changing your major or even, gasp, failing a class is not fatal. Mercy means wiggle-room in life. It means you can learn from mistakes or miscalculations. It’s OK. You can try and change your mind. You can try and fail. You can try and try again until you get it right. Just try.
Mac’s senior year hasn’t gone as perfectly as I hoped it would. There’s been no small amount of quietly handled difficulty over here. It’s his life so I’m careful to respect the way he wants to deal with it.
It’s Saturday morning, February 10 and Mac is taking his ACT right now. If you’re a parent, you are thinking to yourself, “it’s pretty late in the year to take his ACT!” You’re right. It’s past the deadline for a lot of schools. The problem is, this fall Mac was sick a lot. He missed a few weeks of school all together. We couldn’t seem to keep him healthy enough for two weeks in a row to take the test. In fact, he’s there and sick right now. We just couldn’t delay any longer. Back in September we kept thinking we had enough time. No time left.
In August the kid was planning on playing his third year as a varsity football player. That plan didn’t work out either. You know the story so I won’t delve back into it.
Six months ago he was wondering about football scholarships, living away at school, which school to choose. Six months later he has been too sick and thrown too off course to have all the options we would've liked. No, he wasn’t in a hospital bed. It’s just been one bout of sickness and doctor’s visits after another burning through several months. Some doors have closed.
In fact, we just got his senior pictures taken because frankly, he’s looked pretty crummy and I was waiting to get him looking healthy and strong! Well, Prestige Photo will have to touch up his dark circles and maybe people won’t notice his suit coat kind of hanging off his body because of the weight loss. He’s still cute.
So many things didn’t go as planned. So many small details we thought we had control of that slipped through our fingers. Life got in the way of the ideal senior year. It’s forcing us to change our plans. And it’s making us realize that all those little details weren’t all that important because God’s plans cannot be changed.
This morning Mac got out of bed to go take his ACT. Achy, dark circles, sore throat. Mouth so full of canker sores he can hardly speak clearly. Nervous because of the school he’s missed all year and this week and wondering if it’ll cause him to score low.
He’ll probably go to Henry Ford for a year or so (our local community college) instead of straight to a four year college. I think that’s ok. I think he does too. It just means some doors have closed. Realistically, he can’t pursue college football. His ACT is happening too late. His health is still unpredictable. His weight is down. He hasn’t played in a year.
I think God made these decisions because like I said, Mac and God are tight. So we look at these events with a mixture of relief and regret.
It’s ok though. It takes a man of great faith and substance to have his plans rewritten by God and to still serve Him.
Before he left this morning to sit through a five hour test when he should be laying in bed sipping tea Mac said this, “It’s probably good that I stay at home and go to Henry Ford. Now I can keep working with Fuel (junior high ministry) and Alive (youth ministry) as a leader. I’m gonna call Adam (youth pastor) and tell him I’ll be here next year.”
And so with dark circles and decreasing body weight, esophageal scope scheduled for next Friday and additional lab work this week Mac went to take his ACT too late to fulfill every possible dream. And with a swollen and sore mouth he put his life again into his Father’s hands.
I don’t think he’s lost a single opportunity.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways.