Still Learning from an Expert as He Celebrates His 18th Birthday!

Ever since Jack was born I have called Jason and Jack (and then Will) “the McFarland men.” I really like the way this turn of phrase sounds as it rolls off my tongue. It likely has to do with the appeal of the alliteration. I find alliteration alluring – awfully agreeable and absolutely amusing. (Okay – I will stop now.)

For years there was – of course – irony in this statement. The irony made calling them the McFarland men even more fun. I could use alliteration and be ironic all at the same time = win-win.

I like to be whimsical and lighthearted. Life is has more than enough serious junk in it. It is delightful to be able to bring some whimsy and irony to the table from time to time.

Some of this ended on Thursday. Yes – I am still calling Jason – Jack – and Will “the McFarland men.” I probably always will.   Yes – I am still looking for opportunities to be lighthearted and whimsical. (And frankly – I hope I always will.) Nope – what changed was the irony.

Our son Jack turned 18 on Thursday. Jack has officially joined the ranks of adulthood! Our boy is no longer a boy.

Jack is a legal adult. Jack is a man. He can vote and I hope he never – ever misses voting in a single election.   (Our right to vote shouldn’t be taken lightly!) He doesn’t need our permission to do things that he used to. He can sign his own forms now. He can be his brother’s emergency contact person and Will’s legal guardian. (I hope beyond hope that this is never necessary. . .) He can be mine too for that matter.

This is wild and wonderful and weird. But mostly it is just plain amazingly wonderful. Wonderful because I have had a front seat for the most wonderful journey in the world!

In the nights leading up to and just after Jack’s mid-August birth – I remember going for long walks late at night with Jason and Jack to watch the Northern Lights. They were amazing that year. Jason and I had lived in Minnesota for years – but we had never seen the Northern Lights before. I was dazzled and amazed and filled with awe watching those eerie yet glorious flashes and waves of green move across the dark night sky. The Northern Lights were one of Jack’s first God Sightings.

The God Sightings have just kept rolling in over the years.   Again and again Jack has reminded me of God’s presence in the world and in my life. Often unintentionally. Usually just by being himself. Just by being a kid who is interested in exploring the world around him. Just by being curious and inquisitive and inquiring.

He still loves phones . . .

Just by being Jack McFarland and who God created him to be. . .

Just by being a kid . . .

Children are often so much – much better at God Sightings and at seeing God’s presence in our lives.

This probably because kids are far better at slowing down and seeing things. At noticing and taking the time to see and smell and touch and taste than adults are.

Kids are gifted at exploring and savoring and delighting.

We adults get so busy and full of ourselves. We lack the humility to truly stand in awe of a flower or a butterfly. We are convinced we are too busy – too important – too bored – too something to be impressed by a mere weed or heaven forbid – a worm. So we don’t seek and explore and search and investigate and pursue. We are too busy being adults! And wow – do we miss out on the good stuff and the fun!

Thankfully – blessedly children are less so.

Jack reminded me of this. Again and again and again my firstborn has reminded me that worms are intriguing. That life is too short NOT to wait outside long enough to watch the fireflies dance in the night sky.   That frogs – snakes – and toads truly are AMAZINGLY AWESOME! That mud is so much fun. That puddles are for jumping. That markers are for marking. That life is too short to miss the blessings and the good stuff.

Yes – markers really were for marking and marking and marking this day!?!

I learned these lessons from Jack. He doesn’t even remember teaching them too me. Jack thinks I taught these lessons to him. He thinks I am the one who started this off in our family. Jack thinks this God Sighting business started with me . . .

But I know. Because I remember. I remember following a wee toddler around the yard and answering his every question as he inquired and asked – “What that Ma? What that?” And I remember the day he tasted mud and laughed and laughed! He did the same thing the day he kissed the dog. And I remember the day he became a Junior Park Ranger in the Great Smokey Mountains. I remember the hours spent exploring and seeking and searching.

My boy – my son – he is a man now – and he has taught me great lessons.

God Sightings – aren’t they just the best?

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hold our world in its grips – it can feel hard to see God’s presence in our lives. We are exhausted and frustrated and hurting – but God promises us that he is with us always. I encourage you to take some time this week to seek God. Seek reminders of God’s presence. Look for God. Seek him.   He is with you. God is faithful. God is always faithful.

You are in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.

In Christ and with Love –

Pastor Kerri

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