Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Letting Go

This wasn’t my first showdown with summer camp. In fact, I have gone through the experience twice before, hugging the knees of my children as we exchanged goodbyes, protesting loudly as camp counselors unwrapped my arms from their little bodies. It is never a good experience for anyone in our household – particularly my spouse who rolls his eyes so far back into his head that he is unable to see to drive us both home.

So, no, this was not my first rodeo, but I was thrown from the horse anyway. Our daughter, Mary Mac, is eight years old, which really doesn’t mean much. As the youngest child in the family and the last to exit my womb - one that still jealously quivers in the presence of other newborns - she is still considered the baby. A term that when spoken out loud, either as one of endearment from me or as a taunt from her older brothers, sends Mary Mac straight into orbit.

Our daughter wanted to attend camp last summer. Her request was declined because we thought that she was not old enough, and my husband knew that for me, pharmaceutical companies had yet to concoct a sedative strong enough.

This summer was a different story. After attending a mother/daughter weekend at Camp Skyline a few months ago, my husband and I decided to give in to our daughter’s pleas to attend summer camp. Owners Sally and Larry are good friends of ours, and we knew that Mary Mac would not only be safe, but have a great time at this fantastic, Christian camp.

Plus, I was relying on the fact that my friendship with the owners may prevent phone calls to the local law when they found me stalking in the woods that surround their camp. It was a risky assumption, but I was going with it.

A camp trunk was ordered, complete with polka dotted cubes for storage, and comfortable bedding was purchased, color coordinated with accenting pillows. Mary Mac and I had so much fun ordering all of the camp necessities online, but knew we might be in trouble when my credit card began to smoke with overuse.  My husband just wanted to know how many extra patients he was going to have to add to his schedule to support all the summer camp cuteness.

Drop off was as hard as I expected. On arrival, Mary Mac walked into a cabin where all was unfamiliar – the counselors, the campers, the lingering parents. She didn’t know anyone.

 Luckily, I had not yet unpacked her trunk, and began calculating the best way to sneak my daughter out of the cabin and back into the car. We would always have the next year to try out this over hyped camp thing.  Holding tightly to Mary Mac’s hand, we walked quietly to the front door.

“MARY MAC!” a blonde, bubbly counselor suddenly exclaimed. The counselor looked like she belonged in a sorority composite or parading in the back of a convertible car, complete with beauty queen sash and wave.

“I am so glad you are here!  We have been waiting for you all week! This is going to be the best week of your life! We have to get the fun started, so go ahead and tell your mom goodbye.”

And that quickly, my daughter switched allegiances, releasing my hand for the one of the pretty stranger.  She was off to have the best week of her life, and my clinginess was only going to hold her back.

It was a great week. Mary Mac tried new things on her own and made friends with those she didn’t know. She came home taller, both in stature and in confidence, proudly relaying all that she had learned and accomplished apart from yours truly. As I listened to my enthusiastic and joyful  child, I was again reminded of this painful truth:

They can only grow if I let go.

And I don’t want to. But I am called to.

It is a lesson that I am forced to live out with my oldest, Chase, as he recovers in physical rehab. I want to prevent the discomfort and the frustration he feels as he encounters physical limitations. But my intervention will only impede the progress, prohibiting my son from experiencing how all things are possible with God.

I want to push my son, Chandler, towards those talents he doesn’t quite see, knowing that circumventing the trial and errors would lead him quicker to the destination.  But my plans are not God’s plans, and interference would only serve as a deterrent for the purpose he has for my son.

I want to be the hand that is held when my daughter tries something new. But the reality is I am occupying the use of one when she really needs two for her next adventure. God holds all of her, and if I am brave, that will be enough.

 I have a feeling that the Almighty is going to keep allowing situations that challenge innate spiritual reflexes that have a tendency to cling.  It is an area of growth that God wants me to earn an “A” in when he knows I am perfectly content with the mediocrity of a “C”.  I don’t know if I will perfect my responses this side of heaven, but I know I will wholeheartedly try.

Because no guts on my part, means no glory for Him.

“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” 
                                                                                                                                               - Corrie Ten Boom

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