And with fresh shoes, near flawless faces (in my eyes anyway), and an awkward wave from the car–summer has ended.
I have two teens in high school now. I have only high schoolers. I have no littles, only bigs, no one in middle school. It feels like I should have been more mature upon arrival here.
In just a few months I may not even be driving them to school. Talk about things that take my breath away–not driving my kids to and from school, and every other blessed place, brings all the water to all the eyes. And not because I fear them driving or think them foolish. But because I really love these trips.
Even just a run to the store or mailbox, the early mornings for a sport or rehearsal–my son, a night owl, mostly quiet but listening, and my daughter playing DJ or touching up mascara. The rare early dismissal always set to the tune of something fun, and a Sonic run to celebrate our good fortune. We had “hype music” for on the way to a game or meet. We had “chill music” for days when background noise was needed until thoughts could be processed and words found. And worship music for all the other trips. Moments. Memories. Milestones. And music too.
But even songs aren’t sacred. Not all of them anyway. And they can be listened to again–on demand. A perpetual playlist, over and over at will or whim.
The things that will never be repeated? The miles. The minutes. The conversations had in them. If I had the bandwidth, I would calculate how many more trips to school I would have with them. But I don’t have the time and there is no need. I am sober enough already. I am sober enough to know that even if I arrived at a number, it wouldn’t be guaranteed.
I feel the weight of minutes and miles every day–an odometer of opportunities rolling by, put to use or left to waste. How many minutes of uninterrupted, captive attention do I have left to say all the things I want to say. And more importantly, listen to all the things they may honor me by sharing?
I have seen the faces that hid bare threads holding it all together until she made it to the car and could crumble in safety. I can tell my son’s demeanor by the silhouette of his shoulders and the degree he holds his head walking across the lot. We have talked of teachers and friends, failures and triumphs, the pressing things and the piddly things. Godly conversations aren’t always about God proper. Sometimes they are about lonely lunches, time management, or managed expectations.
We have had some of our best, hardest, and most important talks on the way to or from somewhere that wasn’t at all important. And God knew we would. We are participating in a sacred cycle that began with word of mouth, then Word on page, as it was recorded in Scripture and commanded of us.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One. 5And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. 7And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as reminders on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Have I used my time wisely? Yes. Do I wish I had been wiser still? Yes. Do I wish I had infinitely more time? Absolutely. We have been very intentional in our efforts to train, disciple, equip, and prepare our kids to walk in His ways.
But not perfect. And perfect is what I would wish for, what I would need, if their salvation rested on my efforts alone. Or at all. But I am commanded to teach diligently, not transform. I am commanded to speak of Him and His Word, but with a million miles and minutes–I cannot reveal things of God or make people, people of God. I have to stay in my lane.
My high and holy calling as disciple maker and parent certainly includes transportation, but it certainly exceeds transportation as well. Who can boast in simply dropping off to church or youth, if the drive there was wasted? Anyone can function “as a Christian” for an hour or two on Sunday. But what does it look and sound like at bedtime, dinner time, and drive time? Where is Christ in the mayhem of morning, in the chaos of coming and going?
School’s back in session. And that’s now 8 hours a day of opportunities someone else will have. (And yes, we are aware of homeschooling. That’s the next post.) You see why “when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, when you get up” is so sacred. Stay faithful in your lanes, friends.