Open hands and letting go

Several weeks ago I ran across an article that described the kind of person that I am to the letter. The writer described a group of people that he referred to as "introverted extroverts," those who are outgoing and not shy about being in the public eye yet are just as comfortable being alone with a book or sitting in a quiet place.  If you know me, then you know how much I love to talk and be with people, but it might surprise you just how much alone time I prefer (and need).
In spite of my hidden extrovertedness, I realize that life is not meant to be lived alone. We were made for relationships, first with God and then each other. Consider God's words to us in the Old Testament book of Genesis:
So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. (Genesis 1:27)

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper as his compliment." (Genesis 2:18)

So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9)
From these verses we know that God created us in His image so that we could know Him in a real and personal way and that as human beings we are better together. In particular, the family unit includes those kinds of relationships that God had in mind from the beginning. My wife is absolutely my best friend and closest confidant and my children bring great joy and satisfaction to my life.

Which is why this past week has been such a challenging week for the Griggs' family. On Thursday, my wife and I moved our second oldest daughter, who is only fourteen, into the University of North Carolina School of the Arts High School, almost four hours away. The school itself is amazing and the academics are top notch. She has a super cool roommate and the students are well taken care of on a very secure campus. This is an unbelievable opportunity for her to grow not only as an artist but also as young woman.

The struggle for me is not how she will do away at school or whether or not she will be okay. Instead, my biggest concern is how I will do at home with her so far away. As a family of six, we are all so very different from one another, yet we also have shared a unique relational rhythm for the past eighteen years. With the addition of each child to the mix, my wife and I were able to adjust to a new normal and we thrived a little bit more as our family grew. Now that we have subtracted a child at least for a season, the gap in our family dynamics feels like a gaping hole at times.

As I begin to adjust to a newer kind of normal with my daughter away at school, I am keenly aware of just how precious relationships are to me. I am grateful that our family is so close and that we can allow our kids to go and experience the world with open hands, even if they are more ready to go than we are to let them go. This experience has also reinforced just how important my other relationships with friends and co-laborers are.

It is hard to let others that are close to you move on so that they can flourish. Yet it is so rewarding to see them ready to go, knowing that you have invested as much as you can in their lives to prepare them for these moments. Life is indeed better lived together.

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