So, I may or may not have mentioned that my youngest son, my baby, is overseas in "East Asia" on a trip with his school. FOR THREE WEEKS.
I am beyond proud of him, but my heart is being stretched for sure.
Before he left, I cautioned him about what to watch for, and to KEEP UP WITH HIS BELONGINGS. Because, you know, in their security meeting, they told them to "be aware...and blend in."
Clark has blonde hair and blue eyes.
But mainly, and most importantly, I reminded him to keep up with all of the papers he would need to exit this country. I told him to always be aware of his surroundings, and to know where he was going...and where he was staying. You know, just in case something happened, and he needed to get to a certain place.
Then he said those 5 words that no mom ever wants to hear: "Don't worry...I'll be fiiiiiine."
Bless his sweet, little, naive heart.
We had some lengthy conversations before he left. He told me, and he believes, "to die is gain." And that, any way things could go, it was a "win-win" for him.
I know the same God who is holding me here in Arkansas...is holding him wayyyy over in another country. I know this. And, I am thrilled he has this type of faith. But, in my selfish, momma's heart, I don't want to live in a world where he's not in it.
Don't worry...we didn't have these conversations around Joshua. OH MY GOODNESS, that would be all it would take to send him into a frenzy. But, even tho we aren't saying the words out-loud, he knows there is a risk. He doesn't understand everything involved in the risk...but he knows his brother got on a big plane, and flew far, far away. And that he is staying in a country where everything to do with our faith...has to be spoken in code.
He's been a little out-of-sorts.
So even tho I was waiting for a time when all 4 kids could be here together, I gave him his Birthday Books. He was so excited! I don't know what I expected...but I kind of thought he would take them upstairs to read them, but he opened the first one right away, here on the couch...and began to read.
And in 4.6 seconds, he was wiping away tears. I said, "are you okay?" He said, "that letter Dad wrote brought me to tears! He made this 30 year old man cry!"
And I thought, "just wait until you read MINE."
Jim's letter was one page, but my letter took up two pages. He said, "Whew! You wrote a nice, long letter." I said, "You know, Joshua, I told everyone they could write as much or as little as they wanted to...so every letter will be different." He said, "I know."
What I WANTED to say was, "get ready...because I laid it all out in my letter, and you are going to be amazed."
What HE said, after he read it, "very nice."
And then, while I sat there nursing my wounded pride, he read Holly's letter...AND HE WAS WIPING AWAY TEARS AGAIN!
All this to say that even though I put my heart and soul, my blood, sweat and tears, and my last breath...into the letter I wrote to him...the letter that Jim slapped together in 5 minutes is the one that made him cry.
And I honestly could not be more thrilled. :)
"Every time I think of you, I thank my God." Philippians 1:3