Several weeks ago our (adult) daughter went on a trip that was far from her usual comfort zone and involved a crazy airplane flight and zip lining. I was happy she was able to go and knew she would have a good time. But when the day of her flight arrived I had a brief bout of the what if's...
When our daughter was somewhere around 6th grade (oh, those middle school years...) she anxiously and excitedly packed her bags for her first week long trip away from home to church camp. I spent the days leading up to the trip letting her know how much fun she would have, reminding her of all the friends she had going with her, telling her the time would go quickly etc.
The morning she was to depart I dropped her (and the massive amounts of stuff she packed) off at the Pastor's house, prayed they would watch over her and drove away. That is when the what if's started in. What if she forgot to pack something important? What if she got scared? Sick? Homesick? Left out? You get the picture. I prayed but I also fretted. I tried to trust but often fell short.
A couple days in, as I wondered how she was doing, they returned. What if....Wait! What if? What if this camp experience is a GOOD thing for her. What if her faith expands? What if she makes new friends? What if she learns to share more of herself? What if tries new things and likes them? What if she becomes more independent? What if...
What if can be so negative. But it can also be SO positive!
A week (actually 5 days) later, I picked her up at the same spot where I had dropped her off. She was obviously exhausted but smiling from ear to ear, hugging all her friends and giggling as they continued to relive the memories they had just made. She was fine. More than fine.
She didn't forget to pack anything important but even if she had they all shared. There were times she was unsure or maybe even scared but she learned to work through it. She grew in her faith. She got closer to her church friends. She made new friends. Lots of them. In fact, she made friends that she STILL keeps in contact with. (Yep, she is a forever friend kind of girl. A few weeks of Driver's Ed and another batch of we will never forget you friends. A 3 month temporary job and another lifelong friend made.)
Camp provided her lots of learning opportunities. It provided me with the same. I get that life happens and not everything is going to go smoothly. Really, I KNOW this. I am living this. But it also reminded me not to borrow tomorrow's troubles today. It reminded me to let go and let God. It reminded me to trust. To lean in to the faith that sustains me.
So, when the what if's tried to seep into my thoughts as she waited for her plane to leave, I remembered camp. I prayed. I let go. Several days later she arrived home safely. They had a good time, she loved the zip lining and came through all the adventures just fine. It was yet another, "I can do this" learning time for her and, once again, for me.