September 11

Lori and Grant are at the high school this morning, setting up for a music booster sponsored, multi-family yard sale. The funds raised will go toward the cost of next spring’s band and choir trip to Williamsburg, Virginia.

Andrea has finished her first week of classes at college and seems to be making the transition well.

In a couple hours, we start the new church year with our ingathering service. As most of us take the summer off, today will be a reunion with those we haven’t seen in a few months. Grant has a job making coffee for the after-service social hour. I have a meeting with the new teaching team for the coming-of-age class I co-taught two years ago.

This afternoon we may drive into Boston to see Andrea, if she hasn’t booked another engagement and if Grant doesn’t have too much homework due tomorrow.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

Robert Frost’s words do describe the ten years since 9/11. Yet the shadows of that infamous day linger, in so many memories and reverberations — especially in the tragic losses of so many lives and those who knew and loved them.

Today, amidst life’s normal routines, I need to recall and sanctify these losses and the many, many lives that have been forever altered. For those whose normalcy of 9/10 will never return, may you find peace.

Among the many poignant stories of the lives forever changed, this one captures the challenge of going on.

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One of those parenting moments

My son’s first experience with a sleep-over camp several years ago wasn’t good. Away for a week in the north country of New Hampshire, not knowing anyone, camping in a tent, and living on peanut butter sandwiches, he was desperately homesick.

So I carried an unspoken trepidation as we drove up and dropped him off at a week-long running camp last Sunday. This was the first overnight camp for him since that disaster.

Thanks to cell phones and text messages, which we didn’t have last time, I was able to check in daily and gently probe. Although he didn’t sleep well the first night, I sensed no homesickness. The food was good, and he seemed to be enjoying the running regimen.

His commitment to running had been the source of other questions rolling around my mind. He was reluctant to run all summer. After several years of fall cross-country and spring track, I thought he was burned out. Were my wife and I pushing him to attend this camp simply because we wanted him to continue running?

This morning we drove north to pick him up. As we pulled up to the cabin, chatted with him and his camp mates, and collected his belongings, my impressions were confirmed. He had a good time. On the ride home, he spoke of wanting to go back each year through high school and of running lessons he learned for himself through his own experience.

Although he and I haven’t discussed it, no doubt he had some reservations and uncertainty as we drove to camp last week. But he faced them and had a very positive experience. His self-confidence was surely strengthened, a significant milestone on his path to adulthood.

Grant, I’m proud of you.

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