"I love the recklessness of faith."
"First you leap, and then you grow wings."
~William Sloane Coffin
I love this picture of Brendan - on several counts. First, it is just a really fun picture. Secondly, it reminds me of a really great day. But probably what grips me most every time I see this photo is that it is how I want to see my boy... not literally jumping off of sand dunes, but rather looking like he's flying. He's one of those kids who tends to keep his feet pretty solidly planted... not a huge risk-taker, although he's not afraid to try new things.
So it has been fun to watch him start "leaping" then to discover he's "flying" a bit these past few years:
...teaching Sunday School at our church in Harobanda.
...running Christmas programs and planning parties with many if not most of the neighborhood kids attending.
...running for Student Council (he's next year's VP).
...cramming a year's worth of physics into a semester's time.
...traveling with friends all over W. Africa over Spring Break.
...riding the bus into the interior of the country with a friend -
and taking the plane back by himself.
...being part of the Community Outreach Leadership Team at Sahel this past year.
...continuing to quietly invest in these kids at one of the local orphanages year after year.
You see, sometimes it has been easy for me to fault my boy because he doesn't take the same types of risks that I find thrilling. But as I've watched God grow him - in stature, responsibility, maturity, and strong but gentle spirit, I've realized he's not nearly so cautious as I assumed.
He just doesn't flamboyantly announce his bravery to the world. Instead, he quietly pushes himself to try and do what is right, to strengthen and encourage his family and community, to become the person God is growing him to become... not some crazy vision his mama might have.
Today, as I'm waiting for his plane to arrive, to see him again after a long week away with only fb messages to satisfy my mama curiosity, first on my gratitude list is my pretty wonderful, nearly 17 year old senior in high school.
this week's gratitude list:
(#s 2291 - 2312)
Brendan texting from the airport... he's back in town and will be home soon
safe airplane trips
his opportunity to be out "on his own" this last week
the anticipation of hearing all about his adventures
watching him... actually all our kiddos... grow, learn to love others, appreciate different people from different cultures and perspectives
water's refreshing coolness
deep, sound sleep
green grass to play softball... and to cushion feet as kids run in the sprinklers
being able to help
today's grain distribution taking place down by the Baneira churches... and the resources to conduct another one next month
that Nadia and Anna tagged along for today's distribution... the things they will see and learn
challenging video on modesty that spoke powerfully to my girl
clean laundry folded and put away
celebrating the fourth of July in Niger, for the first time ever, with firecrackers
anticipating cinnamon rolls I DON'T have to make
phone call from Tim saying they are leaving the village and should be home in a few hours
big and little girls snuggled together on the couch and watching Disney videos while on summer vacation
listening to the kids play bucking broncos at the pool
watching the videos they took while playing bucking broncos
...and laughing... laughing... laughing
seeing glass formed in the sand by the power and heat of a lightening strike
rescued parakeet taking wing once again
boys and girls winging their ways into manhood and womanhood, with all the bumps and bruises, successes and failures, falls and exciting thrills
(Most of these pictures were from the end of the year party for the kids from the orphanage, where a definite highlight was playing together in the sprinklers on a very hot afternoon. A few of them were snapped by one of my colleagues, Jessica, and snagged off of facebook.)