I took my only child to college last week, and I can’t begin to describe the feelings – there are a lot of emotions that we are experiencing. And yes, there have been tears shed. The house is so quiet. I know she was gone a lot her senior year, but now her room looks so dark and empty, and I know that things will never be the same again. But in spite of the sadness, there is also much joy and excitement. Excitement for her and the path she is now on, discovering who she is apart from us and who she is in the family of God. What does He have in store for her? Have we prepared her enough for life as we know it? Is she strong enough in her faith that she can weather the storms and challenges that we know will come, especially in college? Only God knows of sure, and we’ve left her in His hands…there isn’t anything left for us to do.

But the sadness of her leaving is nothing compared to the sadness of others. Rebekah is a 3 year old with cancer. Read about her here, and then pray for her and her family. This to me is so much more heartbreaking than my daughter going off to college.

And then Trinitie writes about her step-sisters who have been abused and neglected most of their lives. One is 16 and pregnant, the other is 13. The state of Tennessee decided what was best for them and have put them in foster care, in a place where Trinitie has no contact with them. This to me is so much more heartbreaking than my daughter going off to college.

There are the friends of my daughter, all 17 and younger, all pregnant. Some have acceptance, some don’t. For some it was an accident, for some it was on purpose. And, for the most part, the fathers are no where to be found. While Allie was making plans for college, these girls were making plans for babies and how their lives would never be the same again. Will all these teenage mothers know what they are bringing into the world, or will these babies grow up neglected and abused? This to me is so much more heartbreaking than my daughter going off to college.

There are the friends of my daughter, having now graduated from high school, with absolutely no direction in their lives, with parents who could care less what happens to them now. Where will they wind up and will we know what happens to them? This to me is so much more heartbreaking than my daughter going off to college.

Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” and I can see why. But even seeing this I can’t pray. It’s not that I won’t pray, I just can’t. How do you pray for the 3 year old with terminal cancer and her parents? How do you pray for the children who are abused, and neglected, and pregnant, and alone? How do you pray for the young adults who have no direction, and no one in their lives to give them any? Where have the parents gone who care and nurture and guide and know they have, for a very short time, the most precious gift imaginable?

Do what you can. And then commit the rest to God. What else can we do?

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