A Tough Farewell

Mom and Dad came up to Raleigh with me the day after Christmas to help move me into my new apartment. I very much love that pair. It still baffles me at how I once thought they were demons sent here to give me chores. And now, we’re best of friends. It’s amazing how, as I get older, my eyes begin to open more to what my parents were doing – the bigger picture of their love for me and for my brothers.

Saying goodbye to family is always tough. This time, in particular, had a much larger meaning to me. I am not going off to college, still being in need of their assistance. This time I am starting my own life, far away from home. A new, professional career. An opportunity to make a wide range of mistakes and stumbles that will hurt me momentarily, while simultaneously growing me. After they finished helping me move in they got ready to head back to Atlanta (the goodbyes were in order). The goodbye to my mother was definitely more difficult.

You always hear of “father-daughter” relationships being awesome. “Mother-son” can be just as awesome. As we were hugging, I realized I did not want to let go at all. Letting go would somewhat symbolize that I am no longer that dependent child of hers that I once was. That “momma’s boy,” per se. I can only imagine what she was going through. In many ways, she was losing her first child. The first child she dreamt about having long before marriage. The first child she prayed for when her and my father saw a dim light of being able to even have children. The first child she held after giving birth. The first child that she had to potty-train. The first child she watched as he went to his first day of kindergarten & college. Her first child that she loved. She had to say goodbye now.

Please do not hear me wrong now, by no means will our relationship end here. Since that Wednesday I’ve spoken on the phone to my parents constantly. Lord willing, that will continue for a long time, with many many visits in between. I’ll probably even move closer to them eventually. The underlying point to all of this is something that I am continually learning and growing in:

There is nothing nothing nothing on this earth (or “under the sun” as King Solomon says) that can and will completely fulfill me or fulfill anyone else. I love my parents dearly, but I have to now be my own man and grow in my life and not rely on them to save me. If I place my parents as “ultimate” in my life, that leaves me no room for me to grow. Conversely, if my parents put me on an ultimate pedestal and think that I’m going to fulfill them, then they are drastically losing that battle right now and should be depressed because I am now 7 hours away and beginning my own life. And it goes on and on. If a girl places her boyfriend as ultimate in her life then she has doomed her boyfriend. He was not meant to bring her complete joy and he will disappoint her. Not only that, he will feel the weight she’s putting on him and will begin to pull away. Girlfriends too. Athletes can’t put their sport as ultimate either because they WILL get older, weaker, and slower. My beautiful MacBook Pro that I love will eventually be in a junkyard or garage sale one day. Neither can i place myself as ultimate. I can jog and eat healthy all I want, but I will still age. In my health and youth, I can still get cancer. There is some enjoyment in the many things we do and receive, but it is temporary and not eternal. It will always leave us wanting more. #DiminshingReturns

The Bible screams for us to hear this truth. Not only does the Bible do this, but so does the secular world. Every magazine has articles of “how to better our love life” or “stay looking young”. There are numerous self-help books on how to keep our family close, how to improve your workout plan, or improve your cooking. This occurs everywhere and in everything because at our innermost being we know that we are not fulfilled by anything on this earth. But we keep trying to fix it on our own. And each time we do so we fall short. There is never an answer for this issue besides the one, single answer that the Bible gives.

The book of Ecclesiastes, for example, constantly reiterates that we must look beyond the sun for lasting fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the only thing that will solve the issues that we have. Doing it our own way leads to death (Romans 8). What leads to life and peace is life in the Spirit. My new job will not heal me or complete me. My parents, whom I love dearly, will never fulfill me. I need something that will transcend my weaknesses. From Genesis to Revelations….Jesus is saying “I’ve got it. Trust me. Come to me. I’ve got what you need.” This is where our joy lies. The Bible teaches that God sent me to Clemson and now into Raleigh at this appointed time so that I would seek him further. For (1) the praise of His is glorious grace and (2) that I may find full joy in Him (Acts 17:24-27, Isaiah 46:8-11).

‘Oh the depths of your love God. May you continue to cloud me with your presence wherever I go and in whatever I do.’

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