At 6:00 am this morning, our 16-year-old son left for the trip of a lifetime. He is headed to Italy with an EF Educational Tour group. I am excited for him and a little jealous. He is going to see Rome, Venice, and even the Vatican. The furthest I ever traveled before graduating high school was a band trip to Washington DC. Now, that was an incredible trip that instilled a great love for our country, but come on… My son is going to Italy.
While I am excited for him, it reminds me that in just a couple of years he will be out of our house. His trips will be visits back home rather than seeing Mom and Dad on a regular basis. I haven’t struggled with this concept that much, but as the time for high school graduation gets closer and closer (Class of 2017), I expect that my thoughts will grow more nostalgic as I think about my little boy who is rapidly becoming a man. I remember that little boy who loved Buzz Lightyear so much that we painted his room Buzz Lightyear green. I will think about that little guy who played Lego Star Wars games with me. Time goes by so rapidly.
Now that we are starting to look at the next chapter of his life, I ask myself so many questions. Have I taught him enough? Can he handle himself out in the world? Does he know what it means to truly be a man? Will he remain faithful to the God that we love and serve. Ultimately, I don’t have answers to those questions. I can look at what we have done in his life and take advantage of the couple of years that we have left before college. Riley has been on loan to us from God. It was never God’s plan for Riley to live in our home until his dying day. We were to raise him and then let him go. That is much easier to say than to live, but in the end, we must trust God with the great gift He has given us and rely on the promises of Scripture.
Proverbs 22:6 — Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (ESV)
Am I ready for Riley to step into the next phase of his life? No. But when it comes, I will be there to wish him well as he starts the next great adventure of his life. And this one will last a lot longer than just 10 days in Italy.