We all have places in life that mark the end of one phase and the beginning of the next.

First steps and first words
Can ride my bike (!)
Eighth grade graduation (if you’re from a country school as I was, or a middle school
Driver’s License ( !! )
High School Graduation
College Graduation
Stepping out on your own

This weekend we celebrate a couple of the above for our youngest – the last two – and one more for us.

Empty nest.

I’m writing this this morning in what was, until yesterday, our son’s bedroom. His things are all in the trailer and by nightfall we’ll be in Grand Rapids, Michigan for tomorrow’s graduation from Cornerstone University and moving him into his apartment. Jared’s working there this summer, preparing for another milestone in August – his wedding.

This is what life is supposed to look like.

We loved the new arrival and newborn oohs and ahhs.

I loved making my kids laugh and giggle. Playing. Being goofy. Reading bedtime stories. Helping with homework. Encouraging and guiding as they made increasingly mature decisions. Teaching them how to drive. “Ummm Jared? Do you plan on stopping for that light?”

This weekend I’ll enjoy watching him walk the aisle, that silly mortarboard atop his head. (Mortarboards mean WORK, did you know that?) My heart will swell as I watch and hear him lead the crowd that has gathered, in “Benediction” – the conclusion of Commencement Exercises and his undergraduate studies.

I’ll enjoy and later reflect on the fact that his maternal grandparents, his mom and I, his sister and her husband will be there to help him move in and get settled hours after graduation.

Monday morning when I look in on his now-empty room, part of me will wish for the times he used to sit on his futon and play the same three dang guitar chords over and over and over. Part of me will tear up a little (like now) that it really will be “just to visit” from now on. But the bigger part of me will feel the pride and honor that is ours to know both of our kids have grown up to love and honor God. Both bring excellence to the table in whatever they do. Both have faced adversity of various sizes and colors – and called on God for His solution and strength. There’s more life to come. But they’re off to a good start. Both of them.

Babies grow up and become adults. So have mine. I’m a thankful man this morning.

Thank you, Lord, for entrusting these two to their mother and me. We intend to rejoice in what you do through them as future milestones approach and then whiz past. Thank you for the health and safety you’ve granted so we can all enjoy this weekend, we look forward to Your continued faithfulness -and ours in response- in the days and years to come.

Amen –

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