For my son: Waiting for the Twist

With the new social distancing and shelter-in-place restrictions, we are all looking for new ways to spend our time. As fate would have it, after we exhausted our share of family movies, we stumbled upon the brick-building, reality show LEGO Masters. As we tuned in, I expected manufactured drama. I expected Hollywood hijinks. I expected carefully crafted plot twists and suspense. What I did not expect was Episode 5 and the way it would profoundly and, almost laughably, illustrate my emotions during this time.

The challenge was a mega city build. With 14 hours on the clock, contestants were tasked with creating a large-scale city block and one team was definitely in it to win it. Two young men erected a visually stunning, magnificently detailed 5 ft skyscraper that literally dwarfed the rest of the competition. Once completed, they simply needed to roll their masterpiece into the center of the room for final judging. It seemed like a lock.

Until disaster struck.

The move triggered instability and the top two thirds of their tower came crashing down. We watched, heartbroken at the turn of events. We sympathized as one of the young men excused himself, unable to hold in his emotions. We joined with the cameras and followed him to the backstage greenroom, where he quickly succumbed to tears and disappointment.

In that moment, something clicked. Suddenly, the emotions I had been unable to quite articulate came clearly and swiftly to the surface.

You, my son, are my skyscraper. You are my masterpiece. I have spent 18 years pouring into you. I have dedicated my time, my energy and my passion into shaping you and nurturing you. I have prayed for you. I have prayed over you. I have loved you and fought for your best with every fiber of my being. I have neglected my own needs at times to ensure you had what you needed. I have sacrificed eagerly in order that you might thrive and prosper.

And here we are so close to the finish line and disaster strikes. 10 weeks before your high school graduation, the threat of an unrelenting virus threatened your final chapter. Our final chapter. So we adjusted. There were some disappointments and losses. The spring musical and Senior Prom. But thankfully, there were still some things to hold out hope for and we clung to plans for postponement and rescheduling.

Until yesterday. Yesterday it was announced that you were done. There would be no returning to school. No musical. No senior prom. No band banquet. No senior picnic. No band concert. No last day of high school.

And in that instant, the tower fell. All the work. All the time. All the effort we have exerted over days, months and years. After everything, the difficulties and the victories, we had reached the season of celebration. We were headed for the winner’s circle ready to rejoice at all God has done in you and how far He has brought you. But on the way there, this happened, and we have been unfairly robbed of the last beautiful leg of this journey. The rug was pulled right out from under us and we stand here cheated of the last pages that feel so critical to the ending of this story.

You will head to college in the fall and it will be hard for me. But to help with that transition, there are moments I needed to have with you that are now lost. There will be no lasts for me to treasure. There will be no video of your last band concert. There will be no pictures of your last prom. There will be no senior award presentation at your last band banquet. There will be no memory of your last day of high school because it came and went without notice or significance on an arbitrary Thursday in March.

And I am so sad. For you. For us. These rites of passage that we both anticipated, that we both needed, are hollow what-ifs. It is devastating. It is hard to be hopeful. Like the young LEGO builder, I have had to excuse myself for a bit and grieve this loss. I find myself stealing away when the emotions swell and I can’t move forward.

Ironically, LEGO Masters also gave me a bit of hope. Once the distraught builder gathered himself, he returned to discover a twist on the challenge. Teams were given an additional four hours to add another element to their build. And while our dream team couldn’t entirely recreate what they had lost, the additional time proved just enough to salvage their damaged build and make something new. In the end, they finished in the top two and all was right in the LEGO world.

So here we are, waiting for the twist. Here we are looking to the God of redemption and trusting Him to salvage these last few months. Graciously, our trust is well placed. After all, He is the God of the unexpected comeback. He is the God of David, who was certain he would perish at the hands of a jealous king but instead was crowned king. He is the God of Daniel, who prepared himself to die by both fire and beast but divinely sidestepped death. He is the God of Esther, who was convinced her number was up only to discover God had other plans. And most powerfully, He is the God of Day 2. After the crucifixion, while the world lost hope and teetered on the edge of despair, the God of the resurrection was orchestrating the most dramatic and redemptive twist of all. He was working to redeem death itself.

In comparison, redeeming our present circumstances seems like small potatoes for our God.

I don’t know what redemption will look like in this. My human eyes can’t see how this can possibly be made right. But I know better than to trust my eyes. I know to trust His heart. So I will trust through the grief. I will hope through my tears. I will pray for you and over you. I will hug you and support you. I will walk this path with you and together we will wait for the twist.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:14

8 thoughts on “For my son: Waiting for the Twist

  1. Lisa Miller-Rich

    So good, Kris. Beautifully written. Knowing the fullness of the journey, I empathize so powerfully with the feeling of being robbed of the milestones. Prayer in the air for all of you.

    1. KrisHerring Post author

      Thank you my friend. I know God is good and He will continue to be good in this. And I am convinced (like my entire journey with this boy) that the ending will be beautiful beyond words.

  2. Fran Herring

    I’m sitting here crying along with you. Hope putting into words & then sharing those words with us helps both you & Nathan with some of the grief. I love you both and my heart is broken for my Roswell Herrings. But, I’m then thanking God that Healed you to again share your heart in this way again.

    1. KrisHerring Post author

      Thank you Fran. Trusting God to do something amazing in this (as he usually does where Nathan is concerned!).

  3. Mary Jane Hendrickson

    My heart goes out to you and every senior mom out there. But most of all the seniors. My niece is one of those seniors and she is heartbroken. I know God has his plan for this and we will cherish this one day. The words you have written were perfect.

    1. KrisHerring Post author

      Thank you Mary Jane. Trusting is so hard but I am convinced God has this and Nathan and there is certainly no one more capable 🙂

  4. Beth O'Donovan

    Your passion, pride and deep love of being a mom to Nathan AND Josh and Ellie are abundantly clear in this blog post Kristine. We are huge fans of Lego Masters in the O’Donovan house, This will be shared tonight at the dinner table. So appreciative of you sharing!


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