Sometimes I don’t even know how to prepare you for this life. I have enough words for several people but that might not be enough. How to prepare you for a life that seems like it’s spinning out of control nearly all the time, when you are nicely ensconced in your teen years of just having fun and homework? How to tell you as you head off to high school or college that in the future people will storm schools with assault rifles and kill children by the tens? That you will stop watching the news because it makes you want to move your family to Nunavut and live on an ice floe there. Except you hate fish. That will never change. How to tell you that the neatly ordered life you love will become a mosh pit of laundry and meal prep and fingerprints on window panes? And that you’ll mostly love it. Except when you don’t, because your need for order in chaos will never change and so you’ll stay up nights vacuuming and organizing and putting the house back to rights after your children, who are human hurricanes, have destroyed it. How to tell you that eventually you will have to stop living for yourself and lay it all down and that when you do, it won’t hurt like you think it will because you will be ready? How to tell you, in these days of spending hours laying on your bed in your upstairs room devouring dry cereal and books, that a few minutes of uninterrupted time will become such a luxury that when you find it, you will suck the very marrow of it? How to tell you that your mornings will be taken up with hair and lunches and making breakfast that no one will eat and that you will find deep satisfaction in all of it? That you will find yourself on a Sunday night, driving in your teenager’s new car to his school to pick up his forgotten homework after an afternoon spent in the frigid creek rescuing the bridge that washed away in last week’s flood and you will think to yourself that this has been the perfect day. If you could insert yourself into NOW, you would probably hate it. It it loud and chaotic and messy. The phones you would love, but everything else? Not so much. You would walk around in a stupor reminding me that I swore I’d never make our kids eat oatmeal or fish and telling me I sound a lot like mom. And then you would tell me that you’d rather be back with homework and Burger King after school and Showcase Cinemas on the weekends and that I can keep all this crazy to myself, thank you very much. And I would smile and wish for a sec I could switch places and relive those sweet, easy days and then I would go back to unloading the dishwasher and telling Maggie to take another bite for the love of God and I would say, fine. Out of all the places in all the times, there is nowhere I’d rather be than here with these people doing this work. And that I have a meeting with the youth pastor of a local church this afternoon because these are crazy times and I need to at least explore getting strong young men and women in our public high schools so that our kids, who are hurting and confused, have someone to look up to and emulate. That there is less proselytizing and more just loving people and entering in to hurt that is needed. And that maybe, hopefully, that leads to the cross, as it should. I would tell you that our work will become loving people and you will be confused, because you really only care about yourself right now, but there will be a day when you won’t and you will realize then that this family you have become obsessed with are the best thing, but they are only the inroad to a much bigger purpose: serving the world. And because kids are who they are, they will bring the world to you and will drop it’s broken, nasty self on your front porch and you will take that world inside and clean it up and feed it something yummy with protein and you will get filled up right alongside.
Oh Megan, I can never prepare you for the life we are going to live and now, at 43, it’s just starting. The kids are in school full time and you are hitting your stride. Ok, sometimes you binge watch The Crown and shop online far too long, but mostly you are figuring it out. Making a total muddle of it somedays and nailing it on others. That has not and will not ever change. I can’t prepare you for this life because I had no idea, but it will be ours and it will be great. I wish you would start now, noticing the lonely kid and going out of your way to love. But you are embracing this hedonistic, self-focused stage of development and that’s ok, because it will add meat to your testimony. So, carry on with your teenage years and know that it’s all going to be ok. That this future life we will live will be messy and hard and practically perfect for us. And that it will teach us Kingdom lessons that we desperately need to learn. Can’t wait to share them with you.
this is me being real.