Early this morning, our family took Chris to the airport.
During our July 2018 visit to St Herman’s Monastery, the Abbot told Chris that the next step in exploring his calling to monasticism was a two-week visit to the monastery. Chris decided to wait until he finished his AA degree, which he accomplished this past August. So now, he’s taking a solo trip to the monastery. This is both his first time traveling alone and his first time on a plane.
I am emotionally torn about Chris’ calling. As his dad, I don’t want to lose my youngest. Imagining a life without him is too heart-breaking. Frankly, I’m already struggling with the prospect of two weeks without any contact with him.
But I’m also filled with joy and excitement for him as he learns to follow God into his unique life-calling. As someone who had a similar calling into professional pastoral ministry, I know that joy firsthand. I know what it’s like to wake up each morning with a sense of purpose in this world.
And as one who is no longer pursuing that calling into professional ministry, I also know the inner turmoil, self-doubt, and even depression that accompanies not fulfilling a calling.
I wish I could join Chris on this trip. But this next step, and all the subsequent steps, can only be walked by Chris alone. The monastic life is a solitary life. Chris will not be able to find solace or affirmation from family and friends. He must learn to trust God as his Good Shepherd. Because of this, my role in Chris’ journey has changed since our trip together in 2018.
I’ve done all I can to prepare Chris for this trip. And I will help him with any future trips. And if possible, Debbie and I will one day walk him through the monastery gates and entrust him finally to his abbot.
But now my role is to pray for him continuously and coach from the sidelines when appropriate as my son travels alone.
2 thoughts on “Traveling Alone”
Dear Jason- I’ve been so grateful to be receiving your blogs. I love learning from what God is teaching you. My heart felt pulled so much as I read about your son’s current journey and what it will be like for you and Debbie. I can only imagine as a mom.
One interesting thing – twice as I was reading your blog when I read the name ‘Chris’ I thought it said “Christ” and I had to re-read it. I don’t think the name you gave him is a coincidence. It is Chris living inside of Christ. What an absolutely beautiful image! Perhaps God knew you would need that image as you entrust your beloved son into the hands of God’s son. I think of the verse, “And underneath are the everlasting arms.” He will be held very dearly by our Father, of this I am sure.
Blessings to each of you.
Hi Sue! Thank you very much for reading my blog and especially for the encouraging comment. When we chose Christopher’s name, we did so because it meant Christ-bearer. He’s always had a heart for God and his calling is in keeping with his name. But being reminded that Christ also carries Chris brings joy to this dad’s heart! Thank you very much!