Friday, August 22, 2008

The Last Rose of Summer

I deftly reach for the white jasmine tea and then hesitate, choosing orchid oolong instead. Yesterday we sipped the heady jasmine elixir and shared; giving not a thought to the fact that today you would be spreading your wings once again, leaving the nest for the second leg of your journey in life away at university. As you lovingly fingered the bindings on the familiar books that line the shelves of our keeping room, gently handled the favorite teacup full of our special brew, playfully plumped up the chintz-covered cushion at your elbow, wistfully gazed off into the swaying beauty of the willows that seemed to dance in time to the Celtic tunes filling the air … I watched you store up memories of sight, sound, fragrance, and touch. This brimful heart for home will follow you up hills, down through valleys, and ever anon down the path chosen specially for you. I playfully stopped up my ears and hummed loudly whenever you uttered, “I don’t want to go; I’m going to miss you all so much.” And yet my heart wrenched each time I pictured our final summertime hug.

Oh, I know we have a month of summer’s season left on our calendar, but the advent of college entrance last year changed so much of our particular way of peering at life from behind the waterfall. I have always enchanted you children with the notion that we live in a special world far beyond the eyes of all but a few. Only those who come into our home and sit with us over tea or pray with us over our deepest needs can ever really know what goes on here at Wisteria Cottage (and Willow Cottage before, and Waterford Cottage even earlier). For when the Lord laid out the plans for our family He chose a very different path for our feet to follow; our life does not look like the lives of those around us. Special needs and medical frights found balance in love and commitment and hope, above all else hope. Security came from knowing nothing is impossible with God, accompanied by acknowledgement that the path will surely be rock-studded and steep, dotted with valleys shadowed and frightful. Doom would surely triumph without hope. We built our special life on hope alone; and hope remains the wellspring of our life abundant.

As the gates close behind the retreating vessel bearing you and linens and books and ONE BIG HARP wrapped up in the enveloping cloud of hope for the future, I smile and wipe away that trickle on my cheek that reminds me that you have grown up into a fine young lady. Yet I shall never lose the memory of your soft sweetness snuggled into my breast, looking up to me and smiling. The cd player sings out “You Raise Me Up,” and I see you soaring not away from us, but to you – the you planned by God before you saw the light of this world. Though this summer held devastation for some dreams, I proudly watched your beauty shine through in forgiveness and honesty and hope.

Ah yes, hope … for though it feels like summer has ended and my imagination runs away with the idea that the last rose has faded, a simple step out onto my new decking dispels the rumor and supplies the truth: My garden lies awash in roses. The fragrance of damask and tea and sweet citrus hangs heavy in the breaths that rest like fine wine upon my palate. Summer’s state of mind lasts long beyond the final calendar notation and my memories of our sweet summer together shall surely sustain me until we sit together again over a fragrant pot of jasmine tea here in our special world behind the waterfall.

Elizabeth

Godspeed, my sweet child ... young woman after God's own heart

15 comments:

Laura ~Peach~ said...

lovely post beautiful young woman... hugs Laura

Karen Deborah said...

sigh, to be among those who do know. Since your visit your voice is fresh in my mind and I hear you, as I read. More importantly I hear your heart, the words not spoken; the tears held back. It is not easy to push the eaglet from the nest, but underneath are the wings, of home, hearth, and love.
She will grow and soar, and your heart with her.
Missing you.

Becky said...

A fine young lady indeed. And beauty overflowing from the inside out. She is in our prayers, as are you.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Debbie-- this was the most beautiful, poetic post. Your daughter is so blessed!

FancyHorse said...

What beautiful thoughts are expressed here for your lovely daughter. It takes courage to release her and let her try her own wings so graciously.

Elizabeth said...

You are beautiful Elizabeth- may your heart feel the balm of the love of our Heavenly Father, and Family that loves you! :)

noble pig said...

OMGosh, what a beautiful post and beautiful girl! Her whole life ahead of her to go in any direction she chooses. How wonderful!

LadiesoftheHouse said...

What a beautiful young lady...I too have a young lady at home, ready to fly away and start her own life without mom and dad! Some days I am terrified for her, some days I am excited beyond words for all she will experience. Thank you Lord for covering our girls with your protection and although the path is narrow, may they always walk in your most excellent ways.

sukipoet said...

May your daughter find peace and joy in her venture out into the world. With a mom like you back home rooting and praying for her, she will do well I know. She's lovely. What a smile.

MacCárthaigh Family said...

It's a very sad time I think..

Jo said...

Oh how your heart must be torn, dear friend... I'll think of you often as the Summer flees and Autumn arrives, bringing with it the winds of Change. Find rest and continue writing... it's so peaceful and poetic here.
Love,
Jo

Julie said...

She is so beautiful, Debbie! You should be one very proud mother.

CONNIE said...

That smile is so beautiful and those eyes are so gorgeous!

You must be so proud of her, Deb!

Jo said...

By the way... I love the word you used in the first sentence. "Deftly" is such a unique, beautiful word just like your daughter! I've lifted her up in prayer more than once... give her a hug from me, will you?

Davene said...

This was beautiful!

I'm so early in my parenting journey that I find it difficult to even comprehend sending a child off like that. The thought shoots a pain through my heart with no real sense of what it will be like. But when the time comes, I want to be like you: grateful for the time together, confident in the future God has planned for these precious ones.