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Topic: Era (02/03/11)
By LaRae Lacrosse
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November 28, 2009. A quiet, peaceful Saturday evening at home. A welcome respite after a busy week of Thanksgiving preparation and all the myriad activities that weave in and around our family of girls. The holiday season always arrives in a ferocious hurry, bringing with it extra work-hours, final exams, dance recitals, shopping trips and more parties than anyone has time to attend. We, my husband and I, have navigated our way up the steep face of parenting and are nearing the crest, aware that we are on the verge of riding this breaking wave onto the shores of unfamiliar territory. A New Era. Life Without Children. The Empty Nest. We know from observation of friends and family that it can be a tumultuous ride, that it happens much too quickly and that we have to keep our eyes wide open or we will miss all the best parts, but we are confident. We serve an Immutable God. A Solid Rock. An Impenetrable Fortress. He will see us through whatever storms may lie ahead. We have Faith.
It has been an autumn filled with fierce and awe-inspiring skies all up and down the west coast. Sunsets and sunrises almost frightening in their intensity of color and cloud-variation. We have shared photographs and much online commentary regarding the awesome displays with our oldest daughter, a gifted artist and photographer, a passionate lover of lost souls and pink clouds whose free-spirited wanderings keep us ever on our knees. Her most recent adventures have landed her in Hawaii for several months and we are looking forward to her returning home to Alaska for Christmas. One more week. We are boldly confident in the care and protection of our Immutable God over us and our four daughters, even the restless one.
The telephone. Does its ringing ever not raise the hairs of apprehension on our necks when our children are not at home? Perhaps all those spectacular skies have been a harbinger of a shifting in the heavens. Perhaps we should have been paying more attention. A Hawaiian area code. My brother’s voice, “Are you alone?” The conversation that follows is incomprehensible, but, somehow, the message penetrates. Our fearless, laughing first-born has journeyed ahead of us and we cannot follow. Is this really how our New Era will begin? The wave is cresting, breaking, racing toward the shore and I find I don’t know how to surf. I’m not sure I can remember how to swim. The Solid Rock I thought I was standing on has vanished and I’m afraid. I’m afraid I won’t ever breathe again. I’m afraid I will. I’m afraid that when I find The Rock, I will be dashed to pieces.
We make phone calls. Sisters are called home from happy, worry-free activities. Beloved grandparents, aunts and uncles, caring friends. We are now the ones who deliver terrible news. We, of confident faith, are now the bringers of doubt and despair.
Sunday morning. We are enveloped by friends and fellow Christ-Followers. A congregation that, lately, has seemed to have grown too large has, in twenty-four hours, been transformed into a colossal family. A family that will ferry us through the dark waters ahead, nourishing our bone-weary bodies and our limping, wounded souls.
Immutable. Unshakeable. Unchanging. Yesterday, those words brought comfort and assurance to our uncertain futures. Now, as we shamelessly beg God to change His mind, His plan, to turn back the clock, those same words bring fear and anger and disbelief.
What would we do if God answered our pleas by returning our lost hours? Would we call our girl? Would we sit on the phone with her, listening to her future plans for college and travel and children? Would we sing her to sleep? Unanswerable questions. For now, we can only let the waves carry us forward one breath at a time, knowing that, in time, our faith in that Immutable God will re-emerge, solid, though softer and quieter, into an era of confidence free from the arrogance of the untried.
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