It began when my daughter entered her senior year in high school. "Get ready," I was told, "Everything you'll do this year will be for the last time. Then you'll take your child to college, and cry the whole drive home."
Well, that wasn't a very pleasant picture of our future – either mine or my daughter's. I knew that God had a better view of the next year than one filled with sorrow.
I turned to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper and Christian Science, and found this: "There should be painless progress, attended by life and peace..." ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 224).
This idea completely contradicted my friends' vision, and I much preferred dwelling in the idea of life and peace rather than sorrow and loss. I knew that everything about my daughter's situation was progressive, so there had to be elements of "life" and "peace" there, as well. For both of us.
I thought a lot about those two words over the course of that year. To me, the only way to feel peace was to keep in mind that God, the Creator of each of us, loves us, governs every aspect of our lives, and would never bring anything but goodness to us. I knew I could see this goodness because what God creates is here, now.
So, instead of resisting every step my daughter took toward leaving, I practiced seeing the good for both of us that I knew was there.
As we shopped for her dorm room, I found that the give-and-take over what colors to choose or what items to buy became increasingly a series of partnership decisions rather than decisions that only I made. And as my daughter took more of an adult role in these steps, I found it – surprisingly – both relieving and joyful.
More and more, over that summer, I found us talking things over. And not things that concerned only her imminent move. We talked about movies or current events. We had adult conversations. I realized I was not losing anything in embracing the fact that my daughter was growing up; I was actually gaining a new friend.
We were participating in the life that "Science and Health" spoke about – a life of harmony, confluence, and progressive good. I also understood that, because God is the Father and Mother of both of us, I was witnessing my daughter's move toward adulthood in the care of her divine Parent. I knew I could trust her to God, so she would be cared for without me.
Our drive to college was not filled with sadness. We talked and laughed for 12 hours straight. We sang songs on the radio together, we talked about her fears and what she was looking forward to. I talked about my own experience of going away to school. It was a joyful trip, full of anticipation of good. For both of us.
The drive home was equally happy. I thought about God all the way – about His love for both of us and about the fact that at home there awaited His loving provision for me, just as it was unfolding for my daughter. And when I arrived home, I found a new energy and enthusiasm.
I had much more time to pursue outings with friends, visit museums, delve more deeply into my church work, writing, and hobbies. My life hadn't lost anything. In fact, it was fuller and richer than I might have hoped.
And I hadn't lost my daughter, either. When she did come home – more mature, more self-assured, more independent – she had a new respect for all it took to take care of yourself – doing the laundry, and keeping track of the daily chores needed for an orderly, harmonious life. We'd each grown and progressed. It was fun to come back together and share that. It was good to have my daughter home.
Goodness was what God had in store for us all along. All I'd needed to do was turn away from the sorrowful predictions to see it.
As a Bible verse notes: "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it" (Prov. 10:22).