My Dearest Mom and Dad,
I know you remember this moment, you dreamt of it long after you let all of your own dreams die. YOUR child, a COLLEGE graduate and the first one in our family. Your expressions say it all, and so does mine. You both are beaming and I was just happy I could bring you both such joy. I didn’t understand at 21 what I think I might today, and I am wondering if you both see it more clearly now too?
Dad, you started working after junior high, and mom you never got the chance to finish high school, parenthood arrived early in your journey and changed everything. I thought on graduation day you both were living a bit through me, and while a sliver of that may be true I now see the heartbeat of your dream more clearly. It wasn’t about college as much as it was you two believing that was a ticket to a better life. But if your peel back all those layers the better life really wasn’t about college, it was always about breaking the cycle, wanting better and more for your children as you grappled with navigating your own lives. It was about freedom, a freedom that seemed elusive to you but you wanted desperately for your kids and it just dressed itself up like “college.”
And so tonight as I wonder what I most need to say, it is this:
You did succeed. Because Mom and Dad, this little girl grew up to be a warrior who walks in more freedom then the two of you ever dreamed. You DID succeed, not because of the career I chose or because of how much money I have but because you taught me to run my race, to never quit, to dream bigger dreams then I could ever do alone, and a thousand other lessons you never thought you could teach.
And now we enter what I think may be the most important chapter of our earthly story, the nearing of the finish line. And I have to say to you both that this space is far more important to me to do well then getting any college degree. It is far more important that I do THIS season well more than any before it. It is MY turn to show up in the hard spaces, to cheer YOU on, to be YOUR shoulder to lean on, to pour out MY love in all the everyday ways, and to remind you that you are not alone in this journey.
Today was a hard day Mom and Dad, but you have known many.
Mom, you tried not to cry as you told me the news and I held you.
Mom, it is ok to cry.
Dad, it is ok to be emotional too.
Congestive Heart Failure and COPD.
Today is a hard day but none of this gets to win because God ALREADY HAS.
He formed you, He loves you, He holds you and He will NEVER leave you.
I pray that you both would lean in with every fiber of your being and find just how sweet He is, especially in the gut wrenchingly hard spaces.
I confess I am not sure I will do this chapter well, I want to do a throwback to age three when tantrums were acceptable, I want to be selfish and I want to fight the fallenness of this world because I am certain I will never feel ready to even think about the earthly story ending with you.
But I will keep showing up, imperfectly, loving you and lifting you up the the God who delights in you.