Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Healthy Boundaries

I had a dream the other night about the winter solstice. In the dream my youngest son told me that I could flip my moon/sun wall hanging to the sun side......it was the winter solstice and the dark was leaving, soon the sun would return.

I hate it when my life creeps into my dreams.

There has been more sun here, too and that's good. The sun helps you see the hopeful corners of life.

What has really fixed up the outlook here though, is figuring out part of what's been dragging it down. I've had no patience for my oldest son. What? Perfect scores on two out of three SAT subject tests?? Why not all three? Home ten minutes after curfew? Grounded for a week! Super rational and reasonable things like that. Or total parenting mud pies. Muuuud pies!

You see, he's leaving. My oldest son. He's growing up and getting ready to leave home. Yes, it's months away, and yes, I'm sure he'll come back and visit and I am very likely to see him again. But still. It's hard. I like him. Of course I love him, but really; I like him, too. He's a fun person, he's wise and goofy and kind. And I will miss him. A lot.

It hit me the other day that what I needed was help from my church. Here's where the "Healthy Boundaries" come in. As a staff member at a church, I've tried to create a healthy boundary of friendly distance between my congregation and myself. I don't go on retreats, I'm not a member. I don't share intimate things with most people. I am the Director of Ministry for Children Youth and Families, I serve this church.

But the truth is, of course, that I love these people and I really trust them. So, I decided to relax the taught boundary a little. I asked some of the parents of other high school seniors if they'd like to have a little "Leaving Home" group. My oldest son will participate in a formal group at his youth group at the big church in town. But we need to go through this with people we've known for years. These parents are the people we've celebrated numerous holidays with, and who were there at the Coming of Age ceremonies. We've raised our kids together. And letting them go together just feels right. We'll see how it comes together, but even after just creating a few tentative plans --after just saying it out loud, I already feel much better.

It's when we are the most vulnerable that we may step into our true strength.


Barbara said...

Beautifully said. Thank you for this.

Halcyon said...

You got tears from me! Go over a bit. No one will have a stopwatch.