03 December, 2007

On reducing ones "footprint" at home

Today I washed china and mugs for our oldest son, who will be 19 this month. They are his dishes that we've bought over the years from thrift stores for our special dessert and tea times when our teens were younger. They will soon be wrapped in newspaper and packed safely in a moving box for the next, exciting phase of his life.

As I washed the cups and the small dessert plates and the sugar bowl, joy bubbled up from inside. Joy along with pride and excitement...but also a touch of sentimental thought over how much this one has grown and matured over the phases of growing up. It has been very much impressed upon me how much he has matured over the last six months.

We are preparing for our oldest to move out on his own in just one month.

Dear son shared with me about two months ago that he was working to reduce his "footprint" on the household; to simplify his "stuff" and talk with friends about the colleges around here and about moving in to an apartment together. He has downsized his wardrobe to his very favorite outfits, giving good jeans and shirt to his 14.5 yo brother that he has outgrown. He has taken his little 12.5 yo brother with him to hang out. He, in this process of reducing his impact on the household has actually increased his positive impression on it.

How? He may be physically simplifying his belongings and preparing us for his absence here, but at the same time, he has spent moments speaking (literally and symbolically) into his brothers' and sister's lives over the stuff of life: our Christian walk, relationships with friends, girls, guys, money, movies, how to treat a brother/sister, how to show respect. As he simplifies the "things" of his presence here, he increases the impression he is making in our hearts.

He loves to talk and discuss things, but he has not necessarily been talking a lot; rather, his times of talking have been purposeful and gracious. I know what a blessing it is to have a good example and influence now being lived out before his siblings. Lest I over-romanticize this time, I'll say that he *has* felt the need to preach very brief sermonettes to his siblings in the last six months, BUT he has learned how to talk more gently, talk less and relate more; to advise with concern and love rather than with a "stick." He truly is living with purpose. It is exciting to see and to feel the passion of his motivation.

There are a lot of changes taking place this very week, but doors have opened up for our son to attend college in Nebraska. He moves in January, but he already has a place to live, a job in waiting, friends up there missing him and anxiously waiting for him to move there. He has already met up with musicians and fellow photographers and poli-sci majors who want to help make the world a better place. His goal is photojournalism and working for a group such as World magazine or for a missions group.

He may be reducing his footprint at home, but his positive imprint on (our lives and others') increases. THIS may make it harder to let go in a few weeks when the actual day of departure arrives. At the moment we are just very excited for him in this new adventure!




tootlepip said...

All I can say is WoW! Change is good and hard all at the same time. May you all feel God's peace in this time of change.

Mother Auma said...

I love this. I have thought a lot about you and your family since learning about this yesterday. What a lot of hope and expectation! And energy!

Also, I have to ask: did you decide on a china pattern to look for in thrift stores, or did you pick up all the china at one time in one thrift store? I really like the idea of laying up china for the kids!