Author: Chris Braudaway-Bauman
Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”
As kids and parents in our congregation are preparing for the beginning of a new school year and the city of Boulder will soon fill up with CU undergraduates, I’ve been remembering when Phil and I dropped off one of our kids at college for the first time. Orientation included a session for us on “How to Be a Supportive College Parent.” The Dean of Students had a lot to say to us, but before anticipating our questions about safety and academic support and the services of the health center, he offered advice aimed at softening parental homesickness “Begin with a long shower that drains all the hot water from the tank,” he instructed. “Next, eat a bowl of ice cream while lying down and leave the dirty dishes under the bed.” Parents laughed as we acknowledged together the occasional obliviousness of our adolescents. We also sighed that in this moment of wistfulness every annoying thing they did now seemed endearing.
Two days after we returned home, a video of interview clips of first year students on Move In Day landed in my email inbox. When they were asked to say in three words what they were feeling, the responses from one student to the next were remarkably similar. They included some variation of “Nervous” and “Excited,” and this word over and over again: “Ready. . . Ready. . . Ready.” And then, one student added the note that was written on every glowing face. “Loved.”
These words arrived in my inbox as blessings – as unexpected expressions of gratitude from our kids, as kind and uplifting reminders in the days following drop off that we had done our job as parents as best we could, and as a comforting reassurance that this world where we had just released our son was thoughtfully “ready” to take him in.
I didn’t know how much I needed to receive the blessings until I heard them.
But isn’t this often the way things go? I wonder if we aren’t always waiting for someone to name the progress of our lives as holy. We may not realize how hungry we are for it until someone hands it to us like bread, until someone acknowledges with us the power of a particular moment. Within the gestures of noticing itself, blessings are conferred. We see God’s activity in our lives revealed and indeed can name for ourselves how dearly we are “Loved.”