It's the afternoon before Jonathan's departure for Virginia (via Texas), where he'll begin his first year of law school at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. The air is charged with anticipation and tinged with sadness as we all know, but no one is really talking about it, that Jonathan's departure is imminent. His flight to Texas leaves tomorrow morning, where he'll pick up his things and his commuter car, and drive to Lynchburg with his friend, Micah.
Our grain grinder has been working pretty hard today, as his sisters express their love for Jonathan in a very tangible way - freshly made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, cupcakes, hashbrowns, pasta salad, and more. The kitchen is grand central station today.. I'd forgotten how much Jonathan loves to eat good food, so his sisters have chosen a good way to communicate their love for him.
Once again we're all crowding around each other again, playing Uno, watching old videotapes of when the children were little, talking a whole lot about nothing of much consequence. I think we all just instinctively know that we just want to be together and savor each fleeting moment that we have left with Jonathan.
Jonathan's small roller suitcase was stacked about 10 inches above the top, so I asked him if he'd like some help packing. That's something I always helped him with - packing two, fifty-pound suitcases when he left for Cambodia, packing all he needed for a 7-month internship back in 2012. And I always cry as I pack. I take note of the sizes of his shirts and pants, and note his style and color preference in anticipation of his upcoming birthdays and Christmas gifts. I try to pack with as much love and care as I can. Although I really don't see a way that he can fit two suitcoats in that little roller bag - guess he'll be pretty dressed up tomorrow as he flies.
His Cambodia trip was on for 2.5 weeks, his internship for only 7 months, and then he was gone interning and working for another full year, all leading up to what he's been planning for all along - law school, which God has so graciously provided for. So this time, when we say goodbye at the airport, it'll be more permanent - he truly is off, making his own way in the world. It's just like the illustration I heard recently: our children are like a rocket ship on the launch pad with many large fuel canisters attached to it. It takes a tremendous amount of fuel and power to break free of gravity and get that rocket flying straight upward. But fly, it does, but not without cost. As the rocket finally breaks free of the earth's gravitational force, the empty fuel canisters are discarded, allowing the rocket to soar to great heights.
While not a perfect illustration, I think this illustrates Jonathan's life - he's soaring now - a young man, under God's authority. We've given him all we can, and our time of great influence in his life has come to a close. And it's with great joy that I get to sit in the stands and watch the rocket soar.
Goodbye, Jonathan. I love you and always will.