Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Caleb Thomas Shepherd: I Believe in You and the One Who Holds You.

I'm a slow processor, a deep thinker. My mind does heavy lifting when I leave it alone. The more significant the event, the longer the incubation. I saved this photo to my drive the day I snapped it, two weeks ago. 

I remember the day I left for university. I was so eager and I never looked back. I wanted life as an adult. I was ready to put away childish things. I was fully unaware of leaving my family abruptly. Suddenly my room that had been filled with crashes, thumps, and once the sound of breaking glass as I fell from my bed and went butt-first through a window... it all went silent for my Dad and Mom.

I remember one specific morning from childhood with clarity. Certainly I remember more than one, but this one stands above the rest. I uncharacteristically woke up first (I still prefer to sleep in) and sneaked into the kitchen to find that Dad had left me a 6-pack of Hostess chocolate doughnuts. 

I snatched them, ran quietly into my bedroom, dove underneath my bed, and ate them with a sort of forbidden enjoyment. That insight could have helped me avoid future heartbrake. I could have simply eaten them at the table.

And I remember the day I walked out of that room for the final time as a full time occupant. My clothes were loaded into a 1978 avocado green Buick Skylark. I'd crashed and totalled my earlier vehicle in a mindless pursuit to recover a lost necklace. It was growing dark and so I decided to drive to Meijer to purchase a flashlight, rather than admit to the Planck family that I needed a flashlight to recover my lost jewelry... and in my haste, ran a stop sign and T-boned a family of 8 who had recently fled Iraq... in 1991, while George H.W. Bush was blowing up Saddam. 

I suppose that's another story?

But here I am now. Sitting on a third floor balcony in Destin, Florida... contemplating the recent departure of my son. 

He's been with us for some time now. He arrived September the ninth, year two-thousand (9/9/00). Our life was crazy then and he was our anchor. I'd been fired from my job just a few weeks before his birth. My boss read my email that I'd written to my uncle. I was bragging about convincing her to wear an eye patch.

I was in San Diego, working a trade show booth for a textile manufacturer. My boss didn't like me much. She was sleeping with the owner of the company and I didn't figure into her business plan. She got drunk one night and then somehow poked herself in the eye. We were on our way to take clients out to an expensive dinner. I convinced her to walk into a pharmacy and purchase a black eye patch.

She wore it to dinner... I made fun of her to the clients... and then bragged about it to my uncle. She got the last laugh when she watched me later carry out my things in a box.

Kellie and I did not know what we would do. I spent two hours hiding in my garage in my Fruit of the Looms because Kellie's Mom showed up at our house one day when I was supposed to be at work. It was a hot summer day and I sat on the hood of the car. I felt ashamed that I'd lost my job just weeks before the birth of their grandson. 

When I held Caleb in my arms for the first time, I knew that everything would be ok. 

It simply had to be. Because... him.

This September marks 18 years of age for him. In my mind I just graduated high school. Time makes no sense to my mind. I have memories along the way, but am in sheer disbelief of the passage. I feel like I have never moved from this spot and yet somehow the panorama has shifted.

Now my mind must acknowledge this phenomenon. My son Caleb is a young man, an adult who has stepped away from our home and will never return for good. His next place of permanance will be one of his own creation.

Caleb is away for seven weeks at Camp Marengo as a Camp Counselor. When he returns, we'll have him in his room for only a couple of short weeks... and then he departs for Cedarville University. Life for him will begin to change. 

I helped him carry his large trunk of clothes into his car while I was fully aware of the significance of that moment and also a spectator of the memory of myself doing the exact same thing. The sensation was somehow beyond self. I was the participant in both roles. 

I watch this unfold as both participant and spectator. This is sensory overload like a Kindergartner on a field trip to her first Imax experience about the universe. The waves crash steady on the beach and I cling to them for sanity.

For sanity.

I am so thankful to see Caleb grow. His integrity and the promise of his future is such an undeserved joy to my heart. I love him so very deeply. My grounding with him is no less constant that the ever crashing waves on the shore. 

And so, finally I've typed it. These words that must accomapany that photo above. The one that overwhelmed me the moment I pushed the capture button.

Caleb... dream God-sized dreams. Whatever you can imagine, dream, or conceive, the vision God has is so much more. Your worth is in Him and He is limitless. Reach. Cast your all into Him and He will still exceed your measure.

Captured. Yes, for the past two weeks.

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