Tonight I had a vision of a small trickle of water down the side of a hill. The trickle fed into a stream, moving fast. I threw a rock in front of it, hoping to slow it down, but it playfully reached around the rock, continuing it's journey. It continued to flow into a small river. At the sight of the river, I grew nervous. Where was the trickle that was so much fun to watch, or the stream in which I laughed and played? The river moved so fast, I couldn't control it much. So I threw a few large stones in, hoping to slow it down some. The stones had little effect, and as I walked down the river, it grew wider, faster, but I became used to the sweet melody of the flowing water, and it comforted me.
It was still shallow enough to enjoy. I could see the bottom enough to wade in it and delight in the refreshment it gave. But then, without warning, I discovered some rapids . . . not many, but enough to scare me and upset the peaceful play which I had known. The river became rougher, at times almost angry, then without warning settling down again into the flow of water that was familiar, only to begin again to churn and push ahead.
I looked for something to slow this raging current, but saw nothing but some boulders, and I knew I could not move them. Quickly I got out of the flow, worried that I might be swept away into unfamiliar waters. It wasn't long before I realized that this river would only become stronger, fiercer, and would flow into an endless ocean, completely out of my control. The familiar stream, of which I had known every detail was now so much less familiar, so full of surprises. The ocean I would end up gazing upon would be totally unknown, except from the very small place from where I watched it. No matter how many places my feet would step, I would never know that ocean fully.
This weekend my son is going to his first Boy Scout camp out. Not Cub Scout family camping, mind you. This is the big league--the Boy Scouts of America. He is going without me. He has camped without me before, but this time, I do not even have the option of going, and he will be gone all weekend. In no time, he will be camping for a week, and then longer, until one day I wake up and he no longer lives in my home.
My son is the river in my vision. He is moving away from me, and it scares me. I know I will always enjoy parts of his life, but I like the way it is now--enjoying so much of him. But I see him becoming unpredictable, wanting to push away, and I miss him already. I cannot stop it. I know this is the way God has always meant it to be. But I ache for the trickle of fun that he was just a few short years ago and for the playful pace at which we lived life. Then again, as I stop to consider what lies ahead, I am excited to see the vastness of the ocean he will become!