Originally posted on Facebook, April 9, 2012.
The other day, the kids were watching Fly Away Home—a great, underrated movie. Like all good movies, like all true stories, it’s about sin and salvation; about love, life, and death; about redemption, sacrifice, risk, and hope.
And it’s about fatherhood. As soon as I heard the main theme by Mary Chapin Carpenter, I rushed in to catch the film’s end, and I burst into tears. It’s a father’s worst nightmare and greatest joy—his little girl growing up, leaving his protective care, launching, flying, going away on her own. My daughters aren’t rescuing geese and flying solo over a continent, but they’re growing up, just like Amy in the movie.
As many of you know, my daughter Joan is preparing to go to Oxford this summer. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m fiercely proud of her, but I’m terrified. What was I thinking when I said she could go if she got the scholarship? Shouldn’t I have known that she’d get it? Shouldn’t I have known that she’d find a way?
Easter is like that I think. We bury Jesus and think, “Well, that’s done,” and we go about our business—what were we thinking? He bursts forth, he undoes our complacency, he pummels our sloth, he calls us to be martyrs, saints, and heroes—scandalous! Outrageous! Crazy talk!
But he is relentless—like kids growing up. You’re blessed with your first child—sometimes, like us, when you’re still getting used to being married—and you have no idea what you’re doing. You stumble along, God blesses you with more children, you do the best you can, and they grow up. They grow up even when you’re not ready for them to grow up—when you’re just beginning to think that you might be getting the hang of it all, they’re driving and dating and going to Oxford.
God, watch over them as they fly away.