Follow the Yellow Brick Road

To chronicle a bit: went to see Charlie, our college freshman son, at Boston University this past weekend, Parent\’s Weekend.

We got to see Charlie in his new element: college. BU is a large urban university that hugs the Charles River in downtown Boston. Charlie is attending it due to its terrific trumpet studio–he is studying trumpet performance under Terry Everson (http://www.treversonmusic.com/bio.html). Although he has mid-terms this week, he pretty much devoted the whole weekend to seeing us, his parents. So, as a mom, what did I see? I saw a young man who is totally excited about his music, his new friends, his education, and head over heels taken with the city of Boston. Conversely, I saw a young man feeling a bit lost, a bit over stimulated, a bit unsure, terribly heartbroken and utterly exhausted.

After our last Charlie goodbye and enduring tears that wouldn\’t stop, all my worries about Charlie surfaced, all my motherly struggles, struggles I need to come to grips with…

I realize that in some form I\’ve always been able to \”be\” with Charlie during times of struggle and heartache. I didn\’t worry and wonder when he lived here, for we were here with him. He has always lived at home and had a place here to unpack the things he encountered \”out there\” in the world. Now he lives away from home and home isn\’t a place he can come to when life hits him–there is no escape. He must brave this new world and all the unfamiliarity of it alone. By himself, he must figure out how to create a home, a space of rest, in the midst of perpetual motion, perpetual change. Going solo, he must battle the demons that haunt the halls of BU, that poke at the corners of his mind looking for entrance.

In a way, he is not unlike Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Like Dorothy, he finds himself away from home in a new and strange world where he doesn\’t know the rules and doesn\’t know who to befriend or trust. The challenge is to go through dark places, yet not succumb to them; find friends who are true and travel together; battle darkness, yet not be sullied by it; stay on the straight and narrow or risk danger; continue on when the way seems too long, too hard; accept what is given and not let it be taken away; believe there is a way through, even when it seems impossible; allow the desire for finding a place of rest (home), be a catalyst for reaching deep and summoning inner untapped places of strength, unbeknownst places of prayer; face fear and don\’t give in; when faith in devising one\’s own way home drifts away, remembering where faith really belongs; go home different, with new eyes, with the veil of innocence lifted and see that things learned at home went with you, accompanied you and pointed you toward growing up, toward becoming, toward beauty and goodness, toward a life lived well.

I cannot accompany Charlie anymore; I cannot physically \”be\” there for him. I must let go of worry and pray instead, I know. Maybe if I would just shut up and watch the story of his life unfold and trust that what he needs has been given, that Who he needs is with him, I would smile more often. Yes, smiling more often would be lovely…

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