Hello Again - A warm lovely story....

It has been awhile since I posted and a lot has happened.  I have lots to share about but I won't be doing it now.  For now I'm just checking in and sharing a sweet story that really seemed to me to reach into the experience of love.  I couldn't write anything warmer and more inspiring, so I just wanted to share this.  Have a great day ;--)

The shower curtain is open. Not closed. It's a pet peeve of mine. Oh, I suppose everyone has pet peeves like this. You know, the position of toilet seat lids, the use of coasters, where shoes belong and whether they are worn in the house. People latch on to particular symbols of respect, order and feng shui in their living arrangements.
And the shower curtain is open. Again. I have lost count of the times I've addressed this vital, world changing issue with Aaron. He always agrees. Renews his commitment to close the shower curtain. And then doesn't. Aaron doesn't have the close-the-curtain gene.
Aaron is 17 years old. He showered before he left. I know that because I'm standing in the doorway of my bathroom, and the shower curtain is open. Only this time I don't stride forward and close the curtain with an exasperated sigh. Instead, I pause. I'm beholding the open curtain much the way I would behold a creche at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I gaze at the affronting, gaping bathtub like I once gazed years ago into Aaron's crib at the wonder of his peaceful sleep induced by a breast-fed coma. There will be plenty of time to close the curtain. Right now I'm feeling his vital presence wrought by this ironic icon of his absence.
Odd what we think is important, yes?
Aaron doesn't live here anymore.
This morning, Aaron woke up in barracks. In a bunk. I don't know if it was a top bunk or a bottom bunk, but a bunk, nonetheless. Fort Jackson, S.C. People are yelling at him a lot. And he likes it. He says it inspires him. Makes him feel respected, because the people are yelling because they believe in him. They want all the man he is to come to fore. He likes that. He wants it.
I smile inwardly, thinking that if his commanding officer asks Aaron to close the shower curtain, he'll only have to ask once. Maybe twice if Aaron wants to get yelled at some more, not to mention doing 30,000 or so push-ups. I'm no longer the chief authority in Aaron's life. He has been telling me that in pieces these past several months. That baton has been passed. It's my job to let go of the baton. The truth is, it's all I've ever wanted for him.
Yet, I don't want to let go of the baton. But that's what happens when you work yourself out of a job. I best embrace Aaron now by surrendering my embrace. It's a palpable paradox.
Aaron is 17 years old, and he knows who he is and likes who he is. Not many 17-year-olds about whom I can say that. Certainly not me at 17. Not even close. From the time he was born, Aaron was the boy who believed things should be fair. He is Justice Boy. He hates bullies. He thinks people should take turns, share and respect one another. He is protective of those who have less power.
Public high school didn't work for him. In his own words, it was a "baby-sitting service" that too often wasted his time. So, instead of bailing into entitled inertia, self-destruction or acting out behavior, he "put the pedal to the metal" and wrested his diploma one year early. Then he brought me a government form asking for my signature, allowing him to join the Army while still technically a minor.
I confess this would all be easier had he ran off to a tech school to learn to be a plumbing contractor. Nope, Justice Boy has other fish to fry.
The mojo of an authentic life, lived in self-respect, obedient to an authentic calling: It's all I ever wanted for him. And, what do you know, he has that. In spades.
So, why am I so sad? Feeling so vulnerable? Because the bonds of love can have no other outcome but to include sadness and vulnerability. It's what author Judith Viorst calls "a necessary loss." She's right.
Aaron found a path. He sprints down that path, into the next chapter of his life. Which means that I must now embrace the next chapter of my own life.
I close the shower curtain and get on about exactly that.

by Steven Kalas
Steven Kalas is a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Clear View Counseling Wellness Center in Las Vegas and the author of "Human Matters: Wise and Witty Counsel on Relationships, Parenting, Grief and Doing the Right Thing" (Stephens Press). His columns appear on Sundays. Contact him at skalas@ reviewjournal.com.