Here at the peak of summer, it seems I have chatted with several people getting prepared to launch their grown kids off into life as they enter college, join the military, get married, move out on their own - in other words, 'leave the nest' for the first time. Many parents I talk to are really struggling emotionally with their 'baby' growing up and moving on into adult life.
As a mom of 2 grown sons - and as a grown child having left my parents (yes, many years ago, but still) - these recent encounters with parents 'losing' their kids have compelled me to reflect a bit on my own experiences with nest-leaving.
First, my reflections as the Grown Child Flying the Coop - some things I would have wanted my parents to know as I entered my adult life:
1. You taught me stuff I will never forget. And I still want to learn more from you, no matter how old I get.
2. I do still need you. You, my parents, are a key part of my OK-ness as an adult.
3. I also need you to be OK - really OK - now that I'm grown. Don't just tell me you are, but let me see you being OK. I do worry about and care about you, no matter what else becomes priority in my life.
4. You were successful in raising me - don't ever think otherwise.
Then, my thoughts as the Mom of Grown Kids entering their adult life - things I (still) want my sons to know:
1. Your life gives me life. And that's why it's so hard to let you go. I wonder if I will find a new source of energy, of life and breath, with you not around.
2. There was so much I wanted to tell you and teach you. I'm afraid, now that you're out on your own, I won't have any more chances.
3. I'm scared I won't be important to you anymore, now that you're grown. I don't have to be the center of your life now, but I would like to be a key part of it.
Wouldn't it be cool if we all actually said what we feel, out loud to each other? Moms (and dads) would probably still cry when their kids leave home, but at least we would understand each other a whole lot better.
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Don't quit! This Screwtape Letter reading ain't no joke - deep stuff! I'm on Letters 5 and 6 now and, I can't lie, I started thinking maybe I was just not 'smart enough' to read this. But, a thought like that just means the enemy is trying to keep me from reading on cause there's something he doesn't want me to learn. Ha! We'll see about that. If you're having trouble hanging in there on the reading, I encourage you to continue on, also. We (with God) can do this! Letters 5 and 6 commentary coming soon.
Been taking care of the grandkids this summer. Based on my self-reflection of the past few weeks, I wanted to publicly share some of the 'warning signs' you might be a grandparent:
1. You take great personal satisfaction in being the only one able to get grass stains out of baseball uniform pants.
2. You sit through an entire ballgame and never once think about what you have to do at work tomorrow.
3. You can't stop preparing buffet meals, even though you've been eating just a bagel and coffee for dinner for the last 20 years.
4. Suddenly, it's OK to eat on the new couch "if you're careful".
5. You deem chocolate cake an acceptable breakfast food option.
6. You determine that swimming counts as a bath.
7. Bedtimes are only suggested times.
8. If something gets broken, just buy a new one.
9. You become keenly aware that the ability to sleep with one eye open all night is a life skill never lost.
Pray for me.
Ok. I say cuss words (aka, "curse" words, "profanity"). I do. Probably not every day, but I do say them. Mostly when I'm scared (like someone turns in front of me in traffic) or when I accidentally hurt myself (e.g., stubbed toe, thumb with hammer). I know cussing is bad, and I'm not proud of it. But, I'm working on it, and here's how:
The Bible tells us in Matthew 12:34 that the "mouth speaks what the heart is full of" (see link to complete verse below). OK, so that's for, like, evil people, right? Blasphemy and bad stuff like that. Yes, but it's also for us Christ-followers trying to do the best that we can with what we have to work with. The way I see it, our 'mouth' is like a spiritual barometer - the words that come out of it are a direct reflection of where we are at in our soul. So, for me, when I drop a 4-letter word in traffic, for example, it's not really about the traffic. It's about the current state of my heart. The bad word is a direct 'note to self' that something is going on inside that needs to be taken care of. Maybe it's fear..... hurt..... anger..... loneliness....anxiety..... sadness......something that's creating a barrier to my being where God wants me to be.
So, if 'bad language' is a struggle for you, "embrace the cuss word", I say. Well, wait - don't embrace it, but do give it your full attention for what it really is. Then, zip your lip and pray for God to wash your heart out with soap (bad analogy, I know, but I try).
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Hey kids! You probably know from reading the Blog that I LOVE it when I can get some Christian mileage from otherwise 'secular' material (books, movies, whatever). I recently decided to give some of the literature classics another look (actually reading them this time instead of Cliff-noting or watching the movie version like I did with most assigned reading in college -- OK, I admit it) just to see what I can find that feeds my soul. (On an aside, isn't it amazing how authors and writers completely oblivious to - or even in conflict with - Biblical principles end up inadvertently creating works that only further reveal the presence of God?!)
So, one of my Summer Reads is The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. It's, essentially, a set of letters written by a 'senior demon' to his nephew (a "novice demon"), providing him with guidance and direction in how to most efficiently and effectively "secure the damnation" of an ordinary, stupid human (much like ourselves). According to the book reviewers, reading this book will compel the Believer (and the "half-convinced") to "come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions" (LA Times).
I welcome being 'intellectually challenged' about my faith, as I am completely confident God's Word can stand up to any and all scrutiny. Which is why I would like to have a "Book Club" right here on the blog. Would you be up for reading The Screwtape Letters along with me? As I'm reading along, I'll stop every few Letters and post some of my thoughts about what I've read. Then, you can jump in with comments, and share your thoughts and insights with me (and our other Book Club members)!!
So, grab a copy of The Screwtape Letters from your local library, dust it off your bookshelf, or you can order the book from the Amazon link below (for full disclosure, I do earn a commission if you order through my blog). No matter how you get the book, grab it and start reading. I'm on Letter 4 now, and I'm planning to post my first round of 'thoughts' on the blog next week.
P.S. It's no secret that author C.S. Lewis is considered a "Christian" author, and many a theologian has pondered, dissected, and lauded his work. But, because the Bible is the ONLY God-breathed written Word, I am going to consider Lewis' work, The Screwtape Letters, a secular piece.
And one more thing: Reading The Screwtape Letters or any other piece of literature, even for the sake of Christian 'enlightenment', is always secondary to reading the Bible.
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