“Where do you think he is, spiritually?” she asks me.
We are vacationing together, and we’ve decided on fried rice, egg rolls, and stir-fried deliciousness for dinner. We sit in the restaurant, our plates half empty, the sun inching its way toward the horizon. She is asking me about my son.
No one asks these questions about my daughter.
If I’m not careful, I fall into the very same trap. I look at my daughter, a youth pastor at a gigantic church on the east coast, and I don’t think twice about “where her heart is.” On the other hand, Christmas Eve may be the last time my son went to church.
You’d think you could figure out a thing like this, simply by looking at a person’s life.
In the restaurant, I give a long-winded answer. I tell the questioner about David Kinnaman’s research regarding people the age of my children — 18-29 year olds, raised in church, but more than half of whom have decided church is no longer the place for them. I’m telling her about nomads, prodigals, and exiles when my husband says, “But what’s your answer?”
My husband always sees right through me.
“He believes in Jesus,” I say. All I really needed to say was those four words. Why had I said so much?
We finish dinner and pay our bill. We climb into the SUV and we make a few more stops along the way to our resting place for the night. And all of it still niggles at me.
“It must be hard to be a parent,” my son said to me one day last summer.
My mind was spinning, trying to figure out, of all the difficult elements of parenting, which one was front and center in his mind.
“Why do you say that?” I asked him.
“Well,” he began, “I imagine you have this kid, and right from the beginning you have hopes and dreams for how that kid will live his life. But the kid grows up, and that kid has a mind of his own, and he ends up doing his own thing and living life his own way. And it’s not anything like what you imagined.”
I remember being speechless.
“That must be hard,” he’d said into the space between us.
I remember that conversation with my son as I sit in the SUV, with our vacation companion. I think about my daughter, and about all the ways we each are still growing up. How we never really reach the fullness of our faith this side of heaven, I don’t think.Leave a Comment