It’s back to school time!
So many Mamas are sending their babies off to kindergarten or high school or college! So many Mamas (and, yes, Daddies) have emotions creeping up and gushing out.
Well, I live in a college town so “back to school” has a different meaning to the residents of my city. The census for my town says the population is about 176,000. We are a quiet city without traffic delays and clogged highways. Wait, we don’t have highways in my city!
But we are a college town – a major university town, I should say. The student body is about 50,000, so when the college students flock back to town, the residents’ lives change. Our restaurants are full. Our Wal-Mart and Target shelves are empty.
I’m not complaining because I was one of those students – many years ago.
I came to this same college town located in the center of Texas from Boise, Idaho. I didn’t know a soul. Not a soul. And unlike many Texans that grew up attending football games and touring the campus on game weekends, I had only visited the campus one time!
My mom and my aunt drove me to school. We unloaded my two suitcases and some groceries at the apartment I would share with a girl I met one time.
Then they said goodbye. They just got in the car and drove off!
They drove off!
What were they thinking?
This was way back in the dinosaur days – you know, before iPhones to amuse ourselves with texts, snapchats, Facebook, e-mail or the internet. Just me and a quiet apartment.
I was stranded at an apartment ten blocks from campus. No bike. No car. No TV. No one.
My roommate wouldn’t show up until the next afternoon. Hmm…What to do?
I decided to walk to campus and check things out. I did not realize it was so far – it didn’t seem far by car.
It didn’t take me long to learn an important lesson ~ you don’t walk further than the end of your driveway to get your mail or put out the trash in August in Texas! Just when I thought I couldn’t take another step, a university bus pulled up next to me and stopped. The doors opened.
“You heading to campus?” the driver called to me.
“Yes,” I replied cautiously.
“Well, get in. I’ll take you.”
I could feel the air-conditioning pouring out of the bus. I pulled my over-heated self up the steps and plopped down on the first seat. The doors shut and off we went.
In the opposite direction from campus! And we kept going!
“Oh, no!” I thought. “This isn’t good. I’m the only one on this bus with this stranger going further away from campus. Maybe I’m being kidnapped!”
I started to look toward the back door. Maybe I could get away through that door.
Then we turned. We turned towards campus. Whew! We picked up other students – ones that had enough sense to wait for the bus in the shade.
I eventually made it back to my apartment and somehow entertained myself that evening. I slept well until…
Until in the middle of the night, a train blew its horn as it passed. I sat straight up in bed.
What is that?
I had no idea there were train tracks several yards away when I laid my head down that night. I thought the Russians were invading! (For you youngsters ~ this was during the cold war and we lived in fear that the Russians would someday attack America.) I don’t know why I thought we would be warned of an attack by train horns!
Once my foggy brain figured out the noise was a train whistle and not an alarm of imminent danger, I fell back to sleep ~ to the sounds of the clickety-clack of the train.
Welcome to college!
I’ve thought about that day a lot. What were my parents thinking?
They dropped me off in a town where I knew no one – with no transportation – and left me. Two thousand miles away from home.
What were they thinking?
I’d like to think it wasn’t just that they were so happy to have me out of the house. (Don’t say a word, Dad!)
I’d like to think they trusted me and believed they had done their job well.
And they did. And they had. They gave me the tools to succeed.
Yes, they provided for my physical needs growing up. Yes, they made sure I had a good education – even if they had to hire a math tutor in elementary school.
But, most importantly, they showed me what it meant to love and trust Jesus. They trained me in the way I should go.
Yes, I knew my ABC’s and algebra and, apparently, I even had the skills to escape a school bus if I was kidnapped.
But my Jesus education is the education that has sustained me. My faith has buoyed me in the low times and calmed me even in the high times.
So, moms and dads and grandmoms and granddads, as you prepare to send your kids off to school for another year, make sure they know the anchor for their soul – the hope of Jesus. That is more important than fancy new shoes, the coolest spirals or a new backpack. Those things are important, but not the most important.
And trust they will be okay! Though you will miss them – whether it’s just during the school day or for a whole semester – they will be okay. Keep praying for them. Never stop praying for them but trust that they will be okay.
He will never leave them or forsake them. Deut. 31:8
He will comfort and love them. Isaiah 66:13
He will calm their fears and cause their worry to subside. Philippians 4:6,7
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Heb 6:19
Are you having a hard time as your “babies” head off to school? Tell me about it in the comments. I will be praying for you!