I doubt very much that I exude fear, because I’m not generally a fearful person. But the truth is I’m a scaredy cat about one thing — a ridiculous, freaky, heart-racing, anxiety-ridden fool. The fear? Leaving my boys. Not being their mother. Trusting in the depth of my soul that God doesn’t need just a tiny bit of my help to ensure the right outcome.
For example, I don’t leave my boys for more than a few hours with anyone but my husband. This means that my husband and I have never been away together — just the two of us — since we became parents eleven years ago. The only exception was when we lived in Florida and I was pregnant with Sam. We drove a couple of hours south for one night and I remember sitting by the pool at our oceanfront hotel, and reading with my husband. My mom was with Will and Nate at home. I should have soaked up every second, instead I was itching to get back. I couldn’t really enjoy myself. Too scurred.
But yesterday I took a big, albeit anxious, step and joined my husband on a business trip in Boston. He was staying at a fancy hotel directly across from the Public Garden, and spouses were invited to come along, including for a tour and dinner at the JFK Presidential Library. I mean, honestly, how many times are you going to be invited to a dinner at the JFK Library? I desperately wanted to go. And wonder of wonders the boys had exactly one sporting event last night, swim practice, and it wasn’t even my turn to drive. My lovely niece took my three boys home from school, and spent the night. I flew out in the early afternoon, arriving at the hotel around three o’clock. Will was just getting out of his meeting and we walked around Boston and grabbed a coffee from Dunkin Donuts (America may run on Dunkin, but Boston definitely does).
At five the bus came to take our group over to the Presidential Library. Our bus driver appeared to enjoy causing tiny little cars to whimper out of our way by blasting his big deafening horn. I’ve never seen a bus driver so enamored with honking (perhaps he used to drive a cab in the Bahamas?). When we arrived at the Library, the guide remarked that we made it from downtown in record time. Well, no kidding!
At the Library we watched a movie narrated by Kennedy himself, and then were free to roam the museum until dinner at seven. Maybe sometime I’ll share about it, but really I just recommend you go. Kennedy’s era was so fascinating. Who doesn’t love the 50’s and to a lesser degree the 60’s? Who doesn’t admire the timeless style of Jackie? Who doesn’t appreciate the oratory skills of this young president? Definitely worth a visit, and if you get a chance to be there at night, the skyline view of Boston is gorgeous too. Plus, it may be the first time I’ve been to a museum without one of my sons in eleven years too.
After we went back to the hotel, we went to a little drinks and VP debate event for a few, and then hung out in our room. I had to stay up to watch the Tigers close out the series against the A’s, and even at 1 a.m. I was completely restless. I guess it is sort of pathetic, but I was ready to go home. Fortunately, I was able to do that just a few hours later. Door to door, I was gone 22.5 hours. A quick trip even by my short, sweet and jam-packed standards.
But it made me think a lot about surrender. There is a chapter in my book, Sharp Sticks, about surrender. Here is an excerpt:
On October 22, 2006, I prayed and told God something like this: Here it is. Here’s my whole life. There is nothing I want to keep from you, Lord. Not my family, not my comfortable lifestyle, not anything, Lord. You are Lord over all of it. I am submitting everything – everything to you. I know living a fully surrendered life will mean opening my hand to You again and again, that I have this propensity to resolve, “Not this, Lord” or “Anything but that, Lord.” But in this moment, I am letting go of the things I hold onto so tightly –especially my family. I am surrendering it all and trusting Your plan for my life.
It’s nice that I have that written down. Because six years later this is still a struggle. I want to surrender it all. I know His plan is best. But the white-knuckled grip I have on my life doesn’t always reflect that. So yes, my night in Boston was fun and indulgent (my date was very fun and very funny, as you can see), but it was a surrendered baby step too. It was me prying my own stubborn fingers off the false controls of my life.
As Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (ESV). May my life be lived fully surrendered, may it be my spiritual act of worship.