Laurie and I have been enormously blessed the past few years and we know it. We have had the uncommon privilege of living in the same area as our adult children, and not just living near them but getting to worship with them and see them pretty much every week at church. This has been a source of more joy for us than I can adequately explain. I doubt there has been a day that has gone by in the past few years that I have not thanked God for this great blessing.
There are surely people who think the changes occurring in our family are no big deal. This kind of thing is the norm in our mobile society. The days when families settled in an area and lived there near each other for generations are long gone. We have already gone through seasons of separation during our kids’ college years, so we know we will get through it just fine. Yet this move clearly is in a different league from those previous occasions. Michael and Carissa will be much farther away and we don’t know what will happen at the end of their stint there.
There will be some sadness and likely a few tears at our house this week. One could say that our response should be to put our big boy pants on and get over it. That would be true, but it doesn’t really help much. There are some things though that we can do to help. Perhaps these are things we can always do to help us cope with some of the hard or sad things in life. The first and most obvious is to trust God and to give thanks to him for the blessings he has given us. We can thank him that though we may not get to be with Michael and Carissa as much as we would like the next few years we nevertheless have a close bond with them. We rejoice in the love we have with them even across thousands of miles. Second, we have to think about them, not ourselves. For Michael and Carissa this move may have some difficulty associated with it. There will be some adjustments that could be hard. Yet it is also an adventure that they are taking together, and that can be a great thing for them. Laurie and I moved away from family when we were first married. There were some sad aspects to that, but for us it was a great adventure. We were able to create a life as a new family without a lot of external family stress. We made new friends that were our friends together, many of whom we still count as close friends more than three decades later. So I can rejoice that there can be much good for Michael and Carissa as they go on this new journey.
Finally, rather than sitting around moping about my loss I can see this as an opportunity to actually impact the world in a new place. We can be excited about sending off Michael and Carissa to make a difference in another part of the world. We have made an effort to encourage them in the grace of our Lord Jesus, and now we are sending them to a new place where they can display our Lord’s grace and love to a whole new group of people. They will have the opportunity to display what a marriage is like when God’s love and his grace rules in it, and in so doing provide hope, encouragement and help to others. In other words, what I need to do is have vision for what God will do in and through our two loved ones as he puts them in a new context. That’s something I can be positive about. In short, it helps if I can more about God’s kingdom, about the next generation in our family making a difference, than I do about me having life be exactly the way I want it.