Yours for the Journey

th-5“Yours for the Journey…” It’s our most favorite sign-off. Why do we like it so much?

Yesterday afternoon we had a guest over. He is the father of a friend of our son, Chandler. I must say that after sending Chandler away to an out-of-state residential treatment center (RTC) three weeks ago, that we are not on the best terms with some of his friends. To be sure, a few have been really sweet, and a couple have stopped by with encouraging notes for us to send to Chandler. Others have expressed extreme displeasure and disrespect towards me. Even some of the parents aren’t exactly happy with us, because our actions blew the whistle on activity I don’t think they even wanted to know was going on, and now they have to face into whether their child might need intervention as well.

The dad we had over yesterday is totally supportive, primarily because he had to send his older son away to an RTC and is more than willing to offer us encouragement, advice, and help prepare us for what is ahead. In fact, a comment he made is what drove us to choose this subject as our weekly theme. In a text message after our visit, he wrote: “I am with you for this journey.” Marti cried when she read it.

“I am with you for this journey.” What does that mean? It means we are not alone. It means he will walk alongside us through this difficult experience of parenting. It means that he will be available to us whatever happens. It means that he has walked a similar road already, and though our experiences may not be exactly alike, there will be many things that are in common — many places we will be able to connect where we couldn’t connect with anyone else.

For instance, yesterday I was remembering the feeling I had all day Sunday, three weeks ago, whenever I was around Chandler, or talking with him, or just watching him, knowing that when he awoke the next morning, he would be leaving home for an extended period of time, regardless of what he felt about it, and that was at my choice, and I knew that and he didn’t, and there was no way I could tell him. That was the worst day of my life. I know how Judas felt; I know why he threw his money on the ground and why he went out and hung himself. Our friend, Alan knows that feeling, too. He can walk into the memory with me and know it, and know what he can and cannot say about that. In other words, there are no words sometimes for what someone is going through, especially if you have gone through it. You know what’s going to touch that feeling and what’s not. That’s what it means to be with someone on their journey.

That’s not to say that you cannot walk alongside someone when you haven’t experienced what they are going through. In that case, you will both be going through it for the first time, and most of the time, if you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Just be there. That’s one part of what it means to be “yours for the journey.” Stay tuned for more this week.


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9 Responses to Yours for the Journey

  1. gregory krejci says:

    Been there, done that. I will be praying for you and Marti. God bless and keep you.

  2. Carole in Midland says:

    I can’t empathize, only sympathize. I have no children and as child, I was never sent anywhere I didn’t want to go (school doesn’t count). But because y’all are SO loved, many of us are meandering behind you on the trail you are blazing, if only to be there with a cup of water or to apply a band-aid (I, for one, will leave applying the tourniquet to more experienced hands if that becomes necessary). One for the road, J & M, that’s who God has sent your way in this man,because the Lord knows His footsteps are hard to see on rocky ground.

  3. So thankful you have someone to journey with you. I cannot imagine the depth of emotion involved in living this out. Yet there are many out there who can imagine it with you. Thankful God sent someone special.

  4. Mark Seguin says:

    I think/believe I maybe able to understand just a little bit about yours & Mati’s feelings, when I finally a-woke from the coma and a few days after my parents gave me this book someone had suggested to them, that they give to my friends that had stopped by the Hospital to visit me and a few of my friends had wrote very similar notes to that text that caused Marti to cry when she read it – and I had this very good college buddy (a non believer) who for many days and hours just sat in my hospital room to be near me – As my Mom & Dad said about that even thou he may not be a ‘church goer’ it was a mighty fine example of being one & of friendship!

    PS I’ll happily second my good Catch buddy Carole’s post! 🙂

  5. Lois Taylor says:

    Isn’t that what Jesus does with us? He walks alongside. He is closer than a brother.

  6. But John, what I don’t understand is why you felt like Judas! You haven’t betrayed Chandler, you’ve done the best, most loving, most responsible thing any parent could do for their child, the very same thing that God does for His children. He refuses to accept anything less than His very best for them and, although as the receivers of that refining grace and consuming love, it often feels horrible, if we come out of His chastening sweeter than we were, we know with unfailing certainty the love of our Father that prompted such chastening. We come to know our value in His eyes and heart. There is no love like the love of a parent who refuses to let their child be or become anyone less or other than the person God intended them to be. I do not say it is easy – it is in fact, heartbreaking – and I imagine we break our Father’s heart every single day. But it is necessary and it is loving and it is NOT a betrayal. Be encouraged!

  7. Bill in KCK says:

    I havent sent a reply for…can it be 3weeks now since Chandler went to the RTC??…because I had never been required to have anything close to a similar experience either growing up or with my own two kids. I have just been very thankful that I didnt have John/Marti’s experience because Im not sure how I would ever be able to handle it. But it has been amazing to read the comments world wide from others that have had the same or similar experience and others like me that are grateful that they can only sympathize to let you know that you are not alone.
    Although at the time we most often dont know what purpose there might be to going through the ‘hard times’, but I have always believed that it is God’s plan so that we may someday be of some comfort to others going through the same trials. Worldwide supporting emails are wonderful, but nothing can be better than having a real live ‘Alan’ to walk along beside with a better understanding of what might to say or not to say that is with you through this journey!

  8. Janet Shalinsky says:

    Here’s a short insightful YouTube video on empathy vs sympathy that I have found particularly meaningful. It speaks to walking alongside someone in need. (If the link perchance doesn’t work, You Tube Brene Brown’s 2 minute empathy vs sympathy clip.)

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