I attended a launch of the next four squads of World Racers. I have come full circle. Sitting in the same seat in which I sat last 4th of July week, were parents who long to support their adult/child’s decision to go change the world. They wore brave smiles with sad eyes. Questions unspoken churned in their guts, and nervous laughter could be heard all around. The sentiment could be felt “At least we are all in this together.” That is the number one benefit of going to launch events…the comradary of shared experience. I must admit I was glad to attend on this side of the journey…the side where I get to say my daughter made it home…the side where I get to see her and talk to her daily. It was a relief to say, she made it and to assure others that they too will survive this journey chosen for them by their kids.
They do that often you know? Our kids. They chose our path. We become fans of soccer, or cheerleading moms. We learn about marching band, or baseball. We find out that their interests become ours. The really cool thing is that God knows that and uses it as his tool. He puts us in places we are uncomfortable knowing that, because it is our kids, we will go there. We will learn every rule of chess. We will drive to every football practice. We will sit through endless dance recitals, concerts, or plays for our kids. The race is no exception to this live and learn policy. In this past year, I have become a student of world geography and world politics. I know much more about these 11 countries, many of which I previously didn’t know existed. God knew what it would take to soften me for the nations…my heart, or part of it anyway…one of the four parts that walks around outside my body…my child. Whom I birthed and raised and poured into for so many years. Whom I am proud of, whom I love as much as possible in this life.
He used her journey to work in my own heart. I didn’t really fully understand that at this time last year. I sat in meetings and listened like all parents listen, for information about my racer. I got it too, a ton of information. But sitting there yesterday I heard it all differently. I heard what God had been trying to tell ME last year. Those stages of abandonment, and brokenness…yep, that was for me. The stuff about being willing to grow and change, that too. Needing his presence. A positive attitude. All of it was for me, but last year I heard it for my child because I was scared. These unknown journeys our kids take us on are anxiety creators because of the lack of familiarity. We are out of our comfort zone, and so we look for answers. We could ask questions for days and would if given the chance. God smiles at the brilliance of his strategy to get the attention of our hearts. He knows that the way to us is through our kids. Most of us are in the stage where life feels like it is winding down. Our nests are emptying and we are wondering what is next for us after spending a lifetime tending to our children. This past year he has worked in my heart to prepare it for what he has for me, because he is not finished with me yet. Are you kidding? All that wisdom he has imparted over the childrearing years…go to waste? No way! He is just getting started. So this unique and crazy thing my daughter did called the World Race has upended my thoughts, my motivations, my views of most everything. It has expanded my heart to include other parents, many racers, and at least 11 nations. That is big I tell you. I am not the same person I was this time last year. I have come full circle.
I want to add a bit here about the bravery of the Sloan family. For my readers who may not know their story, their daughter Anastasia was set to launch yesterday on F squad. She had bought her gear, raised her funds, and said her goodbyes. In a tragic twist, she was killed in a car accident the week before training camp. Every parent’s worst nightmare, yet her family felt compelled to come to launch, to allow her dream of going to the nations to continue on. They used this most painful time in their own lives to encourage other parents that our kids are not our own. They stood and demonstrated what it means to truly let your kids go. They shared her goodbyes (she had written letters to her friends and family thinking she was going on a yearlong trip, not knowing what a comfort her words would be as she went on entirely different journey), and her last blog, and they requested that she continue to be a part of F squad in memory. Her younger brother even had a word for the parents in the room. He shared how cool it was that their kids are following the scripture in Matthew…”Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” It was a powerful, holy moment to stand in prayer with this family. I believe it gave each parent in the room perspective. What a sacred trust to share their most intimate feelings with a group of strangers turned family. What a journey we are all on. Indeed we are in the circle that continues to come back around and change us through our children.