“Time to pack up again.”
That’s been the regular refrain for our family this summer. Between bringing kids home from college back in May, packing them up for summer programs, going on two 1-week vacations and a conference in between, and then packing 2 kids up to take back to college, barely a week has gone by without needing to wash multiple loads of laundry and restock the toiletries bag so we could pack up again and move on to our next destination or our next stage of the summer’s journey.
Although the trips and adventures have been great, it’s exhausting having to continually go through packing lists and check lists in my head. Of course, the worry is that we might forget something important or discover that we really did need that extra pair of sneakers or set of hiking poles, and then somehow our trip will be more challenging or less comfortable. We may not have what we need to do what we want to do. We might not be prepared for whatever comes next.
I was acutely aware of this particular anxiety when we dropped Child #2 off at college for the first time. I remembered feeling it with Child #1 too – that feeling of “Uh-oh, are they really ready to be on their own? Did we do everything we needed to and teach them everything necessary to face the next stage of life? What if we forgot something? What if they’re not ready?”
As a parent, it takes a lot of faith – faith in our children, faith in our best attempts, faith in the future, and ultimately, faith in God – to leave your child behind in a brand new place, surrounded by strangers, far away from home and to let them find their way forward into their unique future.
Whether we are packing for a trip, entering a new grade in school, starting a new job, or embarking on another of life’s transitions, we quickly learn that “the only constant in life is change.” Rather than fighting change – trying to hold on to what has been or go back to where we were before – it would probably be healthier and more productive to focus on preparing ourselves for the future, making sure that we have the supplies and resources, the skills and abilities, the support and faith we need to move into the future with curiosity and enthusiasm.
That’s exactly what we’re doing at church too – preparing for the program year to begin again in September, making sure we have the resources and support we need to be the community God is calling us to be in this time and place. Many thanks to all of you who have been busy ordering curriculum, planning events, finishing projects and helping out around the church to help us get ready!
As you return from wherever your summer has taken you, we hope you will come to FPCY this fall to get what you need for the journey ahead. Through worship, faith formation and service opportunities, you can grow in your faith, belong to a community of fellow travelers, make a difference in someone’s life or the world. Rather than seeing change as bad or scary, we are grounded every week in the good news that no matter where we are or where life takes us, God is with us, walking beside us, offering us love and grace, hope and peace for the journey ahead.
Many thanks to everyone who has helped out this summer – preachers, liturgists, musicians, gardeners and pantry workers, handymen and women and youth! Chip will continue to be on sabbatical through the month of September, and I will be joining him for a 10-day trip to Spain in early September. Time to pack up again!
~Chip and Tami