Friday my son packed two saddle bags, a back pack, tent, sleeping bag, and fanny pouch, hopped on his bicycle, and headed south. Eventually he will also be going East in a 1400 mile road trip to Kansas City. He is 20, physically fit, and quite good looking (if you can trust a mother’s opinion). He thinks the journey will take approximately three weeks. I believe it has already taken a life time. This is just the last leg before his next adventure begins. Or, perhaps this bike ride is actually the first leg on a whole new quest. I can see both so maybe it is simply a three week transition from one to the other.
In the weeks leading up to this trek I was a very worried mother. “You haven’t trained enough.” “What are you going to eat?” “How will you stay warm?” “Which was are you going to go?” “What if it snows?” And I did not just ask these questions once. I asked them two, three, four times. I spent one night unable to sleep, sobbing instead because I could not shake the thought that he was committing suicide. Every possible scenario went through my mind. Why? Why did he have to go? And this time of year, couldn’t he just wait until next summer?
Then came the day he planned to leave. We invited a couple to come over and pray for him, and for us, and they came, and they prayed. And, the Spirit whispered in my ear, “God can make up for everything you lack.” I knew peace in that moment that I had not known. It was not a promise that nothing would go wrong but rather an assurance that my son was in the will of God. I do not know how to describe that feeling except to say nothing can shake it and nothing can duplicate it.
I am just a little jealous of my son. A part of me sings at the thought of being out there on a bike with a few supplies and a loosely constructed plan. I long for that kind of one on one time with my self and my God. I like being alone. My son, however, is very social. He has called us both nights that he has camped. I am not complaining mind you. I am blessed that he has kept us posted and I have a new appreciation for cell phones. I am only saying that the alone part of this venture might not be as easy for him as it would be for me. I believe the experience will make him stronger but that which makes us stronger is rarely the parts of life we enjoy the most.
So, do all young men need a rite of passage experience? Obviously these experiences do not look the same for everyone but do they all need to go through it? What does life look like if that need is not met? Thoughts? Testimonies? Your turn.