Star Wars

Emperor Palpatine wasn’t quite sure he was ready for the selfie, but the redhead was strong with the force.

My little girl is about to embark on a bold new life’s adventure, a step that I have watched her approach with impressive courage as well as a faith that this father sees as the key to whatever success she has had and will have from this day forward.  I am a bit jealous.  Alyssa is stepping into the void, with a calculated trust but trust nonetheless.  When her flight leaves for Amsterdam tomorrow evening, then for Istanbul on Friday, she will be on her own.  Friends, family, all that is familiar to her will be left here.  The place she was born to and has lived in for 22 years will be far, far away.  It’s likely I won’t see her again until next summer.

She writes about her new adventure in her blog — There and Back Again.  The thoughts she shares are wonderful to read.  She writes —

God wants all of me. Am I willing to give it to Him? My plans for my future? My relationships? My security? My comfort?

Jesus goes on to say, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)

So. Am I willing to give up the illusion of control? Am I willing to trust that He will take care of me as I step out into the unknown to follow Him?

As I pack my seemingly shrinking suitcases, preparing to leave so many things behind, I am working to loosen my grip, open my hands, and just let go.

She is going to a strange place, hoping that God can use her there in a unique way, willing to take a job that pays less than she could get from teaching in the States but an opportunity for her that she can not pass up.  Could she do the same if she stayed in a part of the world where she is comfortable?  Without a doubt, she could and would.  This is something she feels called to do.  Everything that I have witnessed from her so far tells me that is true.

Her mother is a missionary’s daughter who traveled to and lived in several different countries before she settled in the USA.  That part of her is in her daughter’s blood, an example Alyssa saw in her mother’s family.  They have encouraged her along the way, many supporting this new adventure financially and with valuable advice.. and prayer.  A good part of the dream that brought my daughter to this point in her life, has been inspired through the experiences of her cousins and other family members.

I remember what it was like for my when my own post college adventure began.  I went from college to a place that was different to me, on my own but only hundreds of miles away from my family home, with people strange to me but a culture like my own.  There were plenty of things for me to learn, especially since I was a young minister at a church with it’s own challenges.  I relished those challenges, dove in with gusto into the new adventure.  I smile as I see my daughter diving in with the same determination.  I smile even more as I realize she is far more ready for the adventure than I was.  She has chosen a much larger challenge than I did, the potential for reward equal to the size of the challenge.

Alyssa came over to my place last Friday, purged much of what she has stored out in my garage, asked me to keep some of the more fragile items in the closet in my spare room.  We shared a pizza at her favorite pizza restaurant, talked about many things during the course of our meal together.  She is nervous, like she should be.  She is prepared, as is her way.  I went to church with her yesterday morning, her exhaustion obvious in her demeanor.  I told her that she looks and sounds tired, something she admitted to while also telling me that she hasn’t slept well the past few days.  It’s natural with all that is in front of her, I told her.

Her trip this week has a tie to my blogging.  In Amsterdam, she is being hosted by the friend of one of my dearest blog friends, who I have known for many years through blogging.  How cool is that?

I am happy for my daughter, a tiny bit nervous but confident, hugely proud of my little girl.  I called her my little girl yesterday, something that offended her slightly, but I reminded her that she will always be my little girl.  Tomorrow, I will drive her to the airport, help her with her suitcases, hug her, then watch her until she disappears into the terminal.. away to new people, a new culture, a new and exciting place, a new life.