It was the hottest day of the year.
The Yoder sisters and some of their offspringin’s and some of their friends were doing corn.
Eldest Son had been working in the scorching sun until he was almost wobbling, and had come home and gone to the shower and was now hanging around the action without getting his hands dirty.
“Uh, Mama,” he said hesitantly. I looked in his direction, not really able to think much beyond what was at hand. (Namely an unnecessarily large amount of corn. Maybe he wanted to help.) (Ha, ha!!!)
“Uh, Mama. I’ve been thinking. I just might do something life changing.”
This was certainly a most fractious time to be talking about life changing events. Maybe he was trying to catch me off guard. “Oh, no.” I thought bleakly. ” Maybe –“
“Son! Are you going to get an earring????”
“No, Mama. More life changing than that!”
“You’re not getting a tattoo are you?” (I had temporarily forgotten that he hates tattoos).
There was an instant “No, Mama. Not an earring. Not a tattoo. More life changing than any of those.”
I looked up momentarily at this tall son, and then back at the bowl in front of me. A big fan was moving the hot July air in patterns that weren’t helping much, and my hands were sticky. I was weary beyond all reason, and was really not having many original inspirations. I had not the slightest idea of what he was going to do. I didn’t know if I wanted to know what he was going to do. I hadn’t been hearing much about the motorcycle here of late, and he wasn’t dating anyone. He didn’t want to go to college. What was there left to do that would be life changing?
He took advantage of my silence by saying, “I am thinking of going into REACH.”
There was immediate response from various family members around the work site. Much affirmation, much joy. Much surprise. I could see that his eyes were searching my face for some clue as to what I was thinking. What was I thinking? I hardly knew myself. Mostly a sense of joy, though, was permeating my very soul. It has been my prayer for a good while now that this Eldest Son would find his “Life Passion” (as Youngest Son calls it). I was surprised, but not unduly. I knew that ever since his grandpa had died, his grandma had been filling in the gap with daily prayers for the future of her grandchildren, and that she had spent many a prayer and many a tear on this particular offspringin’.
It is many papers, many letters, and many, many prayers later. But not nearly enough days.
This morning he left for his three month training session in Columbus. Following that, if plans carry, he is going to Nepal for six months.
This morning, several minutes after six o’clock, we stood in the kitchen. He hates good-byes almost as much as I do. He took me in his strong arms, and bent over just enough to kiss my forehead.
“Good-bye, Son. Be a Man. Remember, we don’t know how soon The Morning.”
He looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that we do not know when we’re going to Heaven. We don’t know how soon The Morning. Be a Faithful disciple.”
“You got it, Mama. I will!”
And then, he was gone. How well will he remember? It is not for me to worry about, but his Daddy and I will pray that he will be strong, that he will be faithful, that he will live with a constant awareness of the Presence of Jesus, that he will show the way to Life by how he lives.
He’s our Gentle Giant, and we shall miss him so very much, but it feels so right.
Be strong, My Son. Be Faithful. We do not know how soon The Morning.
I love you!