He had everything he needed. (Including underwear and socks for each day- which by the way-he never changed. Not once. Gross. I know. He showered each day, but slipped back into his undies faster than a formula 1 pit stop.(kids + public showers and change areas= torture. Just sayin.) under those panicky conditions I can almost understand. (I remember desperate locker-room prayers…”Dear Lord, please don’t let anyone see my junk.” The official locker-room prayer of every tween.) If he’s ever in the Guinness book of World records it will be for: least often changed underwear with the cleanest backside and most nagging survived.
But, he had them. Along with a smuggled against the rules flashlight. Cause I knew he’d have trouble getting to sleep.
And a dated note from me to encourage him each night. And bug spray. And sunblock. And 3 new books….and countless t shirts. And jeans. And slippers. He had it all.
He even knew that God goes before and with him everywhere…..we talk about that all the time…
And yet, that note says it all: “I can’t take it anymore, I’m homesick.”
A heartbreaking scrap of paper, shoved into an envelope in hopes that someone would hear his desperation. And rescue him.
It’s the only direct contact i received from camp. There were no cell calls. No texts. Not even an email. (With the exception of a daily summary email from the teachers. Which helped ME survive.) It was an adventure in preparing him….and then letting him go.
The letter arrived, after he did. It’s the only letter because it was written on the first night of camp. After that- he was too busy having fun to write. I’m convinced it was grace that it arrived after he did.
I’m sad he had a rough first night…. But, I’m glad the letter didn’t arrive in time for me to immediately climb into my car and go: RESCUE my BABY.
Because he would have missed out. He would have missed out on fun…..and on overcoming his fear.
The truth is: He could take it. He did. He even: had fun. So did I. Coincidentally, my husband was also out of town. It was a time for me to sleep in, watch movies on the big tv and maintain control of the remote. (I’m the only woman in the house- that’s a pretty rare event.)
And a chance for me to let go of (my false sense of ) control and trust God with my kid. Or try to. Let’s just say lots of prayer was involved, too.
There are moments in my life when my prayers sound a lot like Noah’s note from camp. “I can’t take it anymore. I’m homesick.” I can’t take chronic pain. I can’t take the seemingly never ending stress of my husbands ongoing cancer battle. I can’t take one more piece of home- machinery breaking down. One more car problem. One more decision about health care. One more thing.
The truth is: I feel homesick, too. For a time when there won’t be anymore crying…pain, sickness, stress, sin, parental struggle, marital struggle…..loss to grieve. Fear to confront or hope- disappointed.
I long for heaven. For a time when God will wipe away my tears and my body will be whole. (And I’m pretty sure a size 8.)
I wonder if my prayers of desperation are met by God with the same response I had to Noah…..”you did it! I knew you could! I’m sorry it was so hard that you though you couldn’t…..but I’m proud of you for continuing on, anyway.”
Fortunately, my prayers are faster than the USPS. My prayers of desperation are heard. God encourages through his people, his word and his creation….I listen. And then…. I do the next thing to get through..,.
Someday camp will end, and I’ll reminisce about all I learned and experienced.
I can do this. So can you.
“Dear lord, that note from Noah broke my heart. I’m so glad you got him through, and that he grew and had fun. I’m also glad that you are compassionate when I send up my own desperately scribbled scrap prayers ….thank you for being even here…. When I’m not sure i can take it anymore. Thank you for getting me through. I love you Lord and ask you to wrap your heart around all who read that feel the same…..in Jesus’ name, amen.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you.”
I’ve gotta be honest- the first part of the verse makes me feel bad…. Cause I’m not strong. I don’t feel courageous. I am sometimes afraid. But the second part? That makes it possible to get through thee first part;)