Tuesday, August 19, 2008

He's Leaving

When we took Philip to college, it was a 70-80 minute drive to get there, depending on traffic. He lived in dorms 6 [long] blocks from Wietings (his brothers' godparents). Wietings had been like the local aunt, uncle, and cousins when we were in central Wisconsin far from family. Pastor Wieting had been Philip's pastor from age 3-7. Furthermore, because of Steve's illness and hospice care, we had reason to be going up that way frequently in Philip's first half-semester of college.

When we took Katie to college, it was an 80-85 minute drive to get there, depending on traffic. She was at a Concordia, with friends, one of whom had a car and would assure she would get to church in Sussex and Greenfield, more than once a week.

When Rachel moved away, we knew her "roommate." We knew she and her husband would be attending a good church. We knew they had their young friends nearby and our middle-aged friends nearby. And they were closer than either of the others, only a 45-50 minute drive away.

When we took Katie and Philip "away" to college, we said "Bye, see you Monday" when the Dead Theologians Society would be getting together for the Labor Day party/barbecue. We knew that there were frequent enough trips to Milwaukee that we could easily drop off treats or care packages (with enzyme capsules or raw milk?? what kind of mother puts THAT in a care package?) or items they had forgotten to pack.

It's different this week. Paul is going to south central Minnesota. That's further away than Katie and Nathan are. That's further away than my parents are. It's a 6-hour drive. I'm not going to say, "Bye, see you on Monday at the barbecue." I don't know what the church is like he'll be attending. (Everybody tells me it's great. But I don't KNOW that for myself.) If he forgets his snow-boots, we'll have to mail them instead of drop them off sometime in the next couple of months. Anything he forgets will have to be purchased there (eeeks! says the tightwad mother) or shipped. I don't know whether we'll see him before Christmas.

This is different.


  1. If it makes you feel any better, I've been to the church that all the confessional Lutherans attend up at Bethany, and it's a really good church. Granted, it's about 40 minutes away from Bethany, but personally, I think a good church is worth the drive. :) I know it's nothing like seeing it for yourself, but it really is a good church.

  2. I understand, Susan. I've not had the same extensive experience that you've already had with your older children, but I do know the difference between having DoRena in Bloomington (less then four hours away) and having Zachary at Sam Houston (eighteen hours driving time away). The distance is difficult to deal with at times. So, I'll empathize with you and Gary, and, as the Lord calls it to mind, I'll remember you and yours in my prayers. Of course, Paul's dear Father in heaven has him in hand and His eye ever upon Him; and Christ remains closer than a brother, both to Paul and to you. But these parental bonds of affection are not so easily stretched over so many miles. The Lord be with you.

  3. Oh Rick, I knew there'd be empathy from you. Thank you. As I was writing this post, I thought of how your first time was taking Bean all the way to Bloomington, and how much further it was for you & LaRena to see her than it was for us when my first 3 left home. And then Zack ... two long days of driving. God's comfort be with you too. Your blog posts on these topics this past year have really touched my heart.