Life on Life's Terms

Tonight I called my son… just to let him know I love him.

He was in Raleigh, North Carolina, preparing to board a flight to New York where he’ll meet up with his fiancé, who’s winging in from Ann Arbor. They’re about halfway through a grueling six-week nationwide medical residency interview process.

They’ll weekend in the Big Apple, bunking in with a bridesmaid. Monday morning, they’ll take the train to Philly, where they’ll interview in separate hospitals. Him at Temple. Her at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

Scott and Amanda will graduate from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in May. A week later, they’ll be married on a sprawling horse ranch in Johnson County. They’ve asked Scott’s Aunt Viki to make it legal. My big sis is an ordained Disciples o’ Christ minister and heads up Field Education at the Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville.

As undergrads, Scott and Amanda admired each other from afar in the shadows of the campanile at KU and got to know each other in an MCAT study group.

In marrying Amanda, Scott’s carrying on a long tradition of Matson men. He’s marrying up.

Funny how that happens.

These are the times parents dream about. This is what we want for our children. An opportunity to find love, to pursue happiness.

To fill their lives with joy.

I remember watching TV news with Scott when he was about four. President Reagan de-helicoptering from Marine One, walking like John Wayne into the White House.

“That’s Ronnie,” I told my son, pointing at the screen. “He lives in the White House.”

Scott internalized this for a moment, then offered, “Daddy, what color of a house does Tom Brokaw live in?”

How fortunate I have been to see my son grow from a baby... a toddler with an ‘80s rat-tail... ball-playing adolescent... obstinate teenager... into a confident, caring young man.  

We live life on life’s terms.

We have no idea when some troubled individual will bring guns to a school and snuff out young lives and their parents’ aspirations for them. We cannot prevent bad things from happening. But when they do, right or wrong, we want to hold those we love closer.  

Love your children. Love your neighbor.

Seek grace.

Man, if there was ever something that goes without saying… but bears repeating, it’s this.