Thursday, September 18, 2008


This week I don't have anything to write about the sermon because I'm on road to California. As many of you know our oldest daughter, Amanda, is starting college at Santa Clara University. Amanda and I are driving my quite-stuffed Civic, and Ana will fly down this evening after she gets off work. I'm grateful to Gavin Silaski for preaching this Sunday!
Well, I thought I'd write just a bit about this very odd experience of taking my first child off to college. It is proving to be much more difficult than I ever thought it would be. It's an exciting time for Amanda and for us as well. But she's really leaving and that's hitting home like an arrow in my heart. I'm not ready for this passage, but here it is.
The drive down was not what I expected. I anticipated some chit-chat but also a lot of just driving and listening to music. Earlier in the week I informed Amanda that the 11 hour drive would be my last chance to deliver an 11 hour sermon of fatherly wisdom to her. Instead, after we packed (and I mean packed) the car, we started talking about all sorts of things. About an hour into the drive, near Salem, she pulled out a book by Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What, and started to read. If you're not familiar with Miller, read something of his for find one of his podcasts on iTunes. He's a gifted rambling writer and speaker from Portland. His books aren't technically theology, but in fact, they are filled with profound theologicial insights as Miller writes about his life and relationship with God.
As Amanda read, she would laugh about something Miller said and then read that paragraph or so to me. We'd talk about it, and then she'd read some more silently. About a half an hour of such good exchanges passed, when she announced, "I'm just going to read it out loud." And so, for the next 4 hours or so, she read a chapter and then we'd talk about it together; and she'd read another. We talked about God and friends and faith and El Salvador and how she wants to go back to stay and work with Alex there for a summer.
As we passed over the Siskiyou summit into California, it became clearer than ever to me that my little girl was not a little girl at all anymore - that this drive is my last chance to ferry her somewhere as a child and the first time I accompany her as an adult. Her thoughts, her ideas, her dreams and her faith are now fully hers. It is a wonderful passage and a terribly painful one as well.

We stayed in a little town aptly named "Weed" last night and we'll finish the drive today, staying at my mom's in Mountain View tonight. Amanda moves into the dorm at 8:30 AM tomorrow and they have a program for the parents that continues through 1 PM Sunday. The conclusion is a Mass for departing parents that Ana has dubbed "The Crying Mass." Ana and I will visit her family near Sacramento Sunday afternoon and return home on Monday.
- Curtis