Saturday, September 11, 2021

Caleb and Aleks: 5 Letters Each

Caleb and Aleks at her high school graduation.
He just graduated from Cedarville University.

This month he turns 21 and she turns 18. Two milestone birthdays. He just graduated from Cedarville University (a year early), and she just graduated from Carmel High School (finishing a semester early last December, and then working six months as a CNA and taking early university classes for a semester. They've both travelled the world, lived abroad, and served in third world villages. These two kiddos are the best part of my life (hang in there Sterling, your time is coming).

Three years apart. I remember leaving Caleb behind when we travelled to Russia to get Aleks. We made him a poster board that had a Hot Wheels stapled to it for every day we were away. Each day he pulled one off and was a day closer to our reunification. Those were such cloudy and dreary days in Russia as we met our daughter and anticipated bring her home to meet her brother.

Now I am 47 years old, gray filling my beard, and I find myself in shock that my four year old and tiny little toddler are at these pinnacle milestones. He is old enough to drink and she can now vote (vote Trump, my loves).

As for me... my mind remembers Twister Wars with Bentley the dog, hours and hours of Wii Sports, bicycle rides to Rosedale school playground, dinosaurs, and little people. I remember teaching you both to ride your bikes and picking you up from school. How is it that you're both now adults?

Competitive siblings... I love it. Drive one another to greatness... but also catch the beauty of the moment. You each are exactly on track, precisely where God created you to be. Take heart. Think on good things. You are doing it. Bravo to you both. And... continue with the healthy competition! Caleb, you know... every accomplishment you make, she seeks to break. You could really mess with her. Accomplish obscure things and then sit back and watch!

Aleks... you are fierce and you've accomplished a lot these past two years. Your tenacity is a reminder to me of what the human heart can accomplish. Caleb... you've been all over the globe, exploring this world physically as you've bouldered and free climber in both hemispheres. You're the original formula of bold here! 

You both have my wanderlust and need for new. You also have your mother's calm engagement in the present. What a wonderful combination... you can both enjoy what you have and also you're driven for greater things. 

Somehow both of you got unique mixes of the best of me and Kellie. You each got a bit of my cantankerousness as well! How could you not? You have the dual influence of both Shepherd and Mathis (with seasonings of O'Hair and Johnson). Lord help us all. You're bound for greatness... time will tell if you're a Hitler or a Schindler!

Maybe a Bonhoeffer, a Tolkien, a Lewis, or an Earhart! Nah, forget all that... you're Shepherds, through and through.

I just want you two to know that I love you more than life. It is no cliché to say that my life is forfeit for you both. I mean, you know my plan is to live forever... but that goal is secondary to the two of you (and your little sister... this blog isn't about her, but oh ya, she has the same hold on my soul).

Five letters each. Five, the number of grace, in the Old Testament. It is a symbol of God's goodness and favor towards His people. And it covers you. As each of you walk your milestone years... it is His power of five, His grace that covers you. 


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