Safe and Sound

Clearly, I can't answer these questions on my own. Thankfully I don't need to.

Wilona Karimabadi

This time three years ago, my husband and I had just returned from taking our firstborn west, to college. The whole experience of looking at colleges, essay writing, and applications, selecting a school, and finally dropping our daughter off at her choice, was brand-new. We had fun going on college tours, getting excited about the possibilities, and wondering which campus would be the place God wanted her to be. When we got our answer and prepared for her life far away from us, it was a bittersweet time.

When we finally left her on the evening of move-in day, watching her walk up to her dorm in a strange city thousands of miles from home, it was awful. Parents who know will know. It was divine strength alone that got us on the plane eastbound the next morning, knowing we were leaving a piece of our family behind. But we had one consolation: we had three years with our son before he too would take a similar journey. It all seemed so far away—three whole years. But time is a thief.

The pandemic changed everything for students around the world, from doctoral candidates down to pre-k babies. Instead of completing his junior year of high school as he thought he would, and rolling into a senior year with all the perks of being at the top of the heap on campus, our son was prevented from attaining those accomplishments.In the springtime of his junior year, when we had thought we’d be touring campuses as we had with his sister, there was none of that. Virtual tours were not the same. We had to fly somewhat blind in pursuing schools, hoping the campuses would match the hype. So when applications were due, they were submitted in the hope, but not certainty, that he’d be able to start college on campus as normal.

Clearly, I can’t answer these questions on my own. Thankfully, I don’t need to.

But the day has come, and he’s off on his own—like his sister, thousands of miles from home (did we do something, maybe?). Will he like his college? Will he have a great roommate or a nightmare one? How will classes go? Will he adjust to the college academics and do well? Will he find someone special one day? Will he learn to lean on his Savior for all his needs?

Clearly, I can’t answer these questions on my own. Thankfully, I don’t need to.

While talking with a fellow mother of college-age kids before lockdowns isolated us, I mentioned that it was an adjustment to go from caring for the everyday needs of a child, being there for all the moments when they talk to you or tell you they don’t want to talk; to rest in the knowledge that the only One to care for their every need now is the Lord. She then said something wise: in parenting young adults away from home, we lose a lot of the face-to-face time exchanging it for more on-our-knees time.

How true and how comforting is that knowledge. Our efforts aren’t what keep our kids safe, give them academic and career success and the blessing of love and commitment to another person. It is in the hands of the God who made the universe, whose creations continue to fill us with awe and wonder. There are no safer hands in which to place our children (at any age), but especially when they are out of ours.

This school year will bring much change for our family, but we won’t worry about our tomorrows—for ourselves, for our new college kids, for anyone. Total surrender to the Lord is where our reassurance and comfort lie. We, and all whom we love, will always be well cared for with Him.

And there is no better place to be.

Wilona Karimabadi is an assistant editor for Adventist Review Ministries.

Wilona Karimabadi