Marnie has been in Cuba on a mission trip since last Friday. She comes home today (praise God!!). I think everyone is ready for Mom to come home. I'm certain I am, and I'm just as certain that my kids are too.
Last night was one of those moments when I could sense that my needle had dropped below "E." The patience well was bone dry and the presenting issue that revealed this was my daughter jumping on her bed. I know . . . this is somethng that kids do, and I'm not above tolerating a little delightful bouncing just before bedtime. But last night I simply wasn't inclined to let it happen.
I made that very clear to my daughter. Very clear. At least I thought it was clear. To my surprise, she didn't get it right away. This evoked more clarification from me - driving my point home with more volume and intensity just to make sure the message got through.
She got it. She stopped bouncing - but then she came out with this unforgettable line that cracked me up (the silent, inward, parent-only kind of cracking up of course). She said, "when I get to college I am so totally going to jump on my bed."
My kids are beginning to understand that "college" means living away from mom and dad. This is a little disturbing to me in that they are only 6 and 8 years old. But Anna's declaration showed me something about how she views who she will be when it is time to leave home. She is taking the present and simply projecting it into the future. Thus, being at college will mean being able to jump on her bed. She might jump on her bed at college . . . who knows. But I doubt it will mean as much to her then as it does right now.
Do we ever outgrow Anna's way of thinking? All of this makes me wonder about who we are becoming, how we see ourselves now and what we expect of ourselves in ten years or so. And how does that compare with what God the Father knows about us and what God intends for us to be? Spiritually, do we think that the greatest thing for us could be an unhindered ability to jump on the bed (whatever that might be), or do we see that as we grow in Christ, that which seems so important now might become less so. We just might take on the mind of Christ. The image of Christ might actually be formed in us so that we are truly transformed? Is it possible that faithful church-going people stop paying attention to their own transformation, as if warming a pew and sitting on a committee is really what Jesus had in mind for us?
I don't think I'll ever forget that line from last night. I hope I won't. Even at this very moment I can see the day when we'll load Anna's things and taker her to college. We'll meet her roomate and help as much as we can until we sense a readiness in her that tells us it's time for us to go. And just before we leave I imagine glancing at her bed, and looking at the young woman she is becoming, and remembering the night before Mom came home from Cuba.