This one, out of all of them, has surprised me the most.
He was such a funny, stubborn, independent little person.
he loved being outside, in the woods, alone and quiet, more than anything else in the world. (getting ready for a backpack trip in this pic.)
As he grew, his focus turned outward.
He noticed people and started caring deeply for them, especially children.
He fell in love and got married, thus giving me a daughter. (and a new granddaughter, but I don't have a picture of her on hand)
This boy, as a boy, was so independent. As a newborn he wanted to be left alone. Nursing was for filling his tummy, not security or comfort or warmth. Once his hunger was gone he'd fuss and squirm until I put him in his crib. He'd sigh, snuggle deep into the mattress and go to sleep. See what I mean? Solitude.
Even before he could walk or talk he preferred sitting in a corner, by himself, with a pile of toys instead of interacting with people. As long as we left him to his own devices he was happy.
As a young boy his favorite thing to do was spend hours and hours on our little pond, by himself, in the row boat. He'd look for turtles, fish, bugs and birds, thrilled to be alone dreaming and thinking boy things.
Sometimes I'd stand in our livingroom, looking out the window, watching him row around. "What is he thinking about? Is he praying? Hoping to catch a turtle? Thinking about math?" I'd wonder what he was going to do with his life. I knew it would involve nature and solitude. Maybe a park ranger?
I did know one thing for certain. I wanted him to go to college. As I grew up my mom and I were poor and she struggled constantly to make ends meet. We were never homeless, and never went without a meal, but living like we did was sometimes scary and sometimes painful, and sometimes just plain old hard.
That pattern continued after my husband and I married. He never went to college and we've struggled to make ends meet. We've never been homeless, and never gone without a meal, but living like we have has sometimes been scary, sometimes painful, and sometimes just plain old hard.
Rather than focusing on things eternal, like loving and serving, forgiveness and hope, I allowed fear to pull me and I pushed college. Rather than looking at our son's heart, and his strengths and gifts, and the desire he had to be with children, I pushed college. Rather than trusting God with our son's life, I pushed college.
Thankfully he ignored me. He prayed and sought and studied the Word. The Lord took that strong will, that stubborn, independent boy and now?
Now that boy lives in the inner city, surrounded by lost, hurting children and their lost hurting parents. That boy is seldom alone, seldom outside, seldom in quiet. He spends his days laying down his desires and his life, serving. Showing people there is a God who serves. Showing people there is a God who loves and cares and wants to be involved in their lives. Pointing them to the One who is the only One. The One who can heal and comfort and forgive.