You may recall that I referenced him a few days ago. Colton came into a world filled with chaos and noise. He was my quiet child. Was, that is. Somewhere around age ten, he found his voice, and for the past seven years he has filled my life with much laughter, warmth, and weary! I’ve not parented him perfectly. In many ways, the life that we share together as mother and son might just well be my perfection in the end.
I love Colton. His energy is boundless, and his love for life, for people, for God, and for conversation mirrors his mother’s reflection. His tenderness of heart and his passion for just about everything are worthy of my tribute. Therefore, I want to share with you something I wrote about him ten years ago…almost to the very day.
We were preparing to leave my childhood home in Kentucky to make our way to North Carolina where my husband would assume the role of his first pastorate. It was a hard transition, and our feelings surfaced raw and unsuspecting at every turn. This was one of those occasions. As I chronicled back then, Colton had much to teach us during that season of change. He still does. May God bless this particular “stone of remembrance” as only he can.
June 1998– “A Peaceful Letting Go”
It was one of those defining moments. You know the kind. It came suddenly…unexpectedly…yet perfectly timed.
Colton, my soon-to-be seven year old, was greatly anticipating his upcoming birthday. Upon a routine trip to Sears, he spied some shiny new bikes and decided that one of these treasures was his heart’s desire for his special day. I spent a few minutes explaining to Colton that, indeed, a bike would make a nice gift. However, knowing Colton, I told him that he would first have to learn to ride his brother’s bike before we would purchase him a new one. I thought that this discussion would be the end of it, for my son is extremely frightened about trying new things–especially launching out on a new set of wheels.
After returning home that evening, I noticed that Colton was squirming around in the garage, trying to access his brother’s bike. He announced to me that he wanted to practice. D-day was five days away, and he was going to learn. With skepticism, I strapped on his loosely fitting bike helmet and sent him out to the street with his abundantly patient step-dad. I would watch from the porch.
After thirty minutes of 90 degree heat and running up and down the road with wobbly bike in tow, my husband handed the responsibility of teaching over to me. Colton was making progress, yet remained terrified of the letting go. In my no nonsense kind of way, I instructed Colton to look ahead, move the pedals, and focus on the task at hand. I assured him of my grip, and off we went. After two or three trips down the road, my weariness was apparent.
You need to know that I was tired. I had just come down from a very emotional two weeks without husband, without parents, working full time, finishing the school year, selling a home, preparing for a move, wanting to keep peace, looking for peace…longing for peace. So in all of this upheaval, there I was…
It was at that moment, when it happened. Christ came down and jogged alongside us and spent a few moments creating a most profound realization within my spirit. In those brief moments of suspended time, the Lord revealed to me that it was not my son’s lack of coordination, nor his inability to focus that remained his barrier for taking off. It was my grip–the tightly locked fingers on the back of his seat–that was keeping him from success. I was certain that he was going to crash. He was going to hurt himself, and in that hurting, he would become discouraged and never want to try again. In that moment, the pain and discouragement of all my past “letting go’s” came back, and I knew what I must do.
Immediately, my grip released, and I watched Colton take his first attempts at riding alone. He left me behind and soon realized my absence. He had done it–wobbly for sure–lacking in finesse–but complete in the process. My moments of being a proud momma were coupled with the reality of the brief jog with my Savior.
Peace came in waves, and I collapsed in the comfort of its cleansing power. As usual, the tears welled, and I wondered if anyone around me was witness to this milestone—this moment of pure and real transformation. It far exceeded the accomplishment of bike riding and extended to the deeper level of spiritual warmth and understanding.
I was learning about letting go. About my dependence on the human grip. About the loosening of my grip and learning to ride. Wobbly at times. Frustration to the point of tears some days. Falling quite frequently, yet riding nonetheless.
I privately guarded my thoughts in that moment, and now, just a few weeks before another letting go, I sit to write and reflect. My father has often said that life is about the “letting go.” Trust comes with the process, and I feel confident that as long as my trust is correctly placed, the peace will continue to come in waves.
Leaving my childhood home for a second time will be tough. This time, there are two little boys who share the grief of the good-byes. We will all “let go” in just a few days, and a new adventure will begin. Will we wobble? I’m sure. Will we hurt? Most definitely. Will we glory in the accomplishment of the riding? Well…you could ask my Colton. You see, his little taste of success…his baby steps of trusting…led him to continue in the pursuit, and five days later, that blue shiny bike greeted him as he embarked upon another year of life!
He is a good one to teach me a lesson. I will watch him and take strength from him in the days that lie ahead. Together, all of us will face our fears, our hurts, our joys, and remember the “bike rides” in seasons past that have encouraged us to launch out in faith. In it all, we will look around at our surroundings and see the Master Teacher jogging alongside, authoring the defining moments and cheering boldly for each step of our progress. Thank God for his grip that remains sure even in the letting go.
May God be with you in your moments of “letting go,” and may you sense his deep peace that comes with the trusting!
Happy Birthday, Colton. You have been worth every moment we have jogged together.
I love you!