Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ready Or Not...

When our first baby, Becca, was going to be born, a huge 'nesting' instinct settled upon both Janie & I. We set up the crib and stockpiled diapers and wipes and got a whole 'diaper changing station' set up. We were full of anticipation and wondered if we were missing anything.

Strangely, I felt a similar sensation of nesting (or you might call it 'gathering') as I saw the growing pile of 'stuff' that our 18-year-old son, Daniel, would need for college. Now he's a guy, and had far less to take to college than certain girls I know (cough *Becca* cough) but there was still a nice little pile in the dining room prior to our jetting off to Roberts Wesleyan College on Thursday.

As we rolled across the New York thruway,
I kept checking the lists: did we get him everything he needs?


My friend Dwight spoke in church several years back just after he had dropped his own son off at college. And forcing his warbly voice to work as he tried to hold back his tears, he shared the worries and doubts and anxiety that a parent of a first-year college student has: "Have I taught him everything? Have I showed him everything? Is he ready?" There wasn't a dry eye in the place, and his emotion made an impact on Janie and I, being a few years behind his stage of life. We wanted to be sure to teach our kids well and be sure to cover all the bases. So even though Janie was sick, we ramped up, as much as we could, our efforts to relate and be together and 'teach' our kids. It wasn't through direct methods like a classroom, but more through just living life together with God and letting it rub off on them.

There is no real diagnostic way to look at a kid and gauge if you have succeeded in your goal to teach them well; it just doesn't work that way. However, I can say with all confidence that I see wonderful things in my kids and I'm so proud of them.

So as I type this, two days after dropping our second-born child off at college, I'm thoughtfully, but not fretfully, asking: "Have I taught him everything? Have I shown him everything? Is he ready?" The fact is, no, I have not taught him everything. I have not shown him everything. But he is ready. Ready enough, despite having not been told and taught everything. The reason I can say that with such confidence is that Daniel has a great and good God who cares for him, and this great and good God knows Daniel's name and knows where he is and what he is doing and cares for him even more than I can or could even imagine. And this comforts my parental anxieties.


So I had just gotten some lovely peace about all of this on the five hour drive home from Daniel's college and - I swear I am not making this up - I arrived home to this piece of mail for Carly, who starts 9th grade next week:

Lipscomb University
One University Park Drive
Nashville, TN 37204

Dear Carly,
Thank you for inquiring about Lipscomb University. I am excited that you would like to learn more about us.....

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