Bows and Arrows

What do you see in that photo on the left? I see a red 20 year old Mitsubishi Mirage that is no longer there. I see an empty parking spot in front of our home. The car, which at one time was my mom’s, was driven by my son, Zachary, who has lived with us for the past 14 months. He’s gone now. On to his dreams. There’s an empty spot in my heart, too, but at the same time, my heart is busting with pride.

For you see, Zachary left on the morning of August 20th. He headed to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota’s Medical School. Zachary is 31 years old, and it took him 4 years to arrive at this day. He started with an organic chemistry course, completed a year of a pre-med program, spent a year in India assisting with medical research, worked the year he was home with us at a urgent care facility, applied to medical school twice, and did everything his advisor suggested. It took a ton of hard work and two tons of determination.

Zachary wants to help people. He already has, in a number of ways, by working and spending time in Malawi, Sierra Leone, China and India. I know he will do great things going forward. His life’s mission causes me to reflect on my own life. Have I served others enough? Is the world a better place for my having been in it? Has my life glorified God? A reflection on the past takes me only so far. My answer must look forward as well; otherwise, what good is the question?

This beautiful poem entitled “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran captures this very moment in my life:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, 
not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you 
with His might, that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.

31 comments

  1. Congratulations! You must be very proud! As an instructor at a local university, I had an outstanding English student and wrote for him a reference. I asked him to stay in touch as he is interested in going to Medical school. He is 20 years old and the son of a single mother. I never heard from him again but I hope he reaches his dreams. My students kind of become like my children or the ones I hope to encourage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone who sees all kinds of images in my shower tiles (I think of it like my morning Rorschach test), I note the “what do you see” photo creates an arrow in flight–moving forward. Inspiring story for a Friday morning filled with uncertainty! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How proud you are of a son that is worthy of that praise. It is hard to let loose of our children and let them soar. Your son has already been a good example for others to see. I know he will continue to help others and you will always be proud of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I am glad for him that his dream is coming true. I enjoyed having him home, but we knew it was for a limited time – which at 31, it should be. 🙂 Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Best of luck to your son! When my son Dan left home, the hardest part was coming home to see his empty parking spot. I love that poem. So true, but so hard to discover that we did not influence our children as much as we just cared for them until they developed into the adults that they were meant to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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