Back to school has a new meaning for me this year. My oldest daughter is off to college and living in a dorm in San Francisco. It was odd leaving her in a room on the fifth floor of a building, looking out on traffic and pedestrians below, when the view from our home in the Santa Cruz Mountains is a cow, a pasture, and a few houses.
She’s ready for the adventure, keeping herself as occupied as she can in the week before her roommate arrives and classes begin. I on the other hand, don’t know if I’m ready for adventure. I’m at home, washing and folding the laundry she left behind, half-expecting to see her in her room, or at least signs of her in dirty dishes on the counter, even though I call her every night there and know she’s not here.
It’s only been a week and I know it’s too early to tell how this adjustment is going to play itself out for her, for me, for the rest of the family at home––father and sister. But, I’m already experiencing a new form of prayer, a kind of prayer that seems most practical from a distance, a kind of prayer that is a shift for me, a very verbal person. It’s a prayer of touch. As I change her dirty sheets and put away the laundry she left behind, touching each item of hers becomes a prayer, a wordless lifting of her to God, like Mufasa, and later Simba in the Lion King lifting their young atop Pride Rock.
In the pride rock of Jennifer’s bedroom, I hold her pillowcase, her socks, the T-shirt she got from the orthodontist when her braces came off, before I put them in their drawers and am reminded of her baptism when Pastor Lorraine held her high overhead. I marveled at this gift from God, how amazing it was to have her in my life, and how daunting at times to raise her.
I hold her things, as if I’m holding her up for the world to see, and for God to claim again. As if God needs reminding that she’s one of the family; that God’s got some responsibilities to her. I’m the one who needs reminding. Jennifer was God’s all along, but mine too. I’ve spent years talking, advising and praying for and with her. I’ve listened to her, and to God too I hope, but now, without her in the house and with her beginning an independent life in the world, it’s time for wordless prayer, for a deep quiet. It’s time for a space to open up in my life in which I trust and entrust my daughter in and to the world. It’s time to trust and entrust my daughter in and to God.
In other words, it’s time––ready or not, to FROG––to Fully Rely On God.
©2006 Cathy Warner