What a treat to have Andrew home for the weekend! He drove my car all over Central Florida, he ate at his favorite restaurants, I cooked his favorite food, he spent time with his favorite people, we visited with his grandparents and he got to see pretty much everyone at church this morning.
Additionally, and this was a real serendipity, he was able to accompany us to a friend's wedding up at the Mission Inn, an hour and a half north in Howey-in-the-Hills.
There was a moment, from our vantage point at the end of a long table, where we looked down to the other end and just had to smile. It was a good portion of the First Presbyterian Church youth group, circa 1998, all young adults in their 20s now, sitting around talking, catching up, swapping stories...
How we had worried about them all those years ago! We had met together Sunday evenings just to pray for them - and we still do - and we sometimes wondered if they would even graduate from high school... and we sometimes wondered if our families would even survive the next hour, or day, or week.
But it's what parents do (that's our friends Lynne and Ben, left; Sandy and Keith, below right) because we know that the older our children grow the less we can do to effect the outcome of anything... and the more we must trust...
...And - eventually - we understand enough to let them go and we watch them teeter at the edge of their lives, and we watch them begin to make their way, and - eventually - we watch them soar... and there's nothing much more we can do at that point than sit together at our end of the long table and squeeze one-another's hands and smile as we cry - because we are so grateful and so blessed.
At least that's what it felt like Saturday evening. So today I'm praying for those of our young people who were there. Kirk, Kevin, Josh, Chris, Meg, Andrew, Donna, Traci, Karen, Mark - all in their 20's and none of them in Brandon any more. It is such an amazing privilege to be part of a faith community where such love abounds, and such honestly, and such hope, and such unbounded belief.