In one month, my eldest son will graduate from high school. It’s an exciting, overwhelming, and humbling time of transition for our family–and it’s causing me to reflect on, well, just about everything in life. One thing that keeps bubbling up in my mind and heart is all the people who have walked with us along life’s path and their influence on so many aspects of our family. Some of those people have been with us through every milestone through the past 22 years. Others have come and gone from the daily rhythms of our lives. But each has left lasting impacts.
We humans are meant to do life in community. We all need others to join our hearts with–in love, in friendship, in faith, in vocation. I am abundantly blessed that I have had those relationships in spades. My soul overflows with joy when I recall the many individuals who have supported and encouraged me, challenged me, corrected me, pointed me to God, brought out my best, and stood by me at my worst.
I know my boys have had those relationships, too. With the obvious folks, like parents, grandparents, and extended family. But also with teachers who recognized what was special in them and nurtured that. The parents of their friends, who provided a safe and welcoming place to hang out. Other adults at church who’ve taken an interest in their activities week to week. Scout leaders and coaches who have challenged them to work hard and reach for the next level. YoungLife leaders who have shown them what living out your faith can look like. And good friends who have been playmates, teammates, confidantes, and sometimes partners in crime throughout childhood and adolescence.
We have been complimented frequently in this season on our boys’ accomplishments and told that they have become delightful young men. Those words warm my heart tremendously, but I know we can’t take full credit. The generous gift of community we have experienced in so many ways has shaped who they are as much as we have. And I’m excited to think about the individuals who will form their community as they venture off to college, start careers, and raise families of their own. I pray for those individuals now, and I pray that my sons will be positive influences on the people they encounter along life’s way.