Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The morning started off worse than an old Beatles album. Yesterday, before I could wake up, fall out of bed and drag a comb across my head, I discovered that she'd already left home. There I was, minding my own business, sleeping, when I was instantly awake--just sat straight up . . . Awake. I thought that only happened in the movies. I looked at the clock, 5:20 a.m., went out to see if my daughter ever locked the back door (she was outside at midnight on her cell phone . . . "be right in, daddy!" she said). I was asleep even before I got in bed at quarter after midnight . . .
Now, I was standing there looking at the unlocked back door. Oh well. She probably forgot. My three girls share a room right across from the bathroom . . . I looked on them on my way to "check the plumbing" and noticed my oldest daughter's comforter and pillows were gone, clothes strewn everywhere. Top bunk empty . . .
No 'Lisa.
I look in the lower bunk where two sisters lay sleeping. . .
No 'Lisa.
I checked her oldest brother's room . . .
No 'Lisa.
I checked her little brother's room . . .
No 'Lisa.
I checked my room . . .
No 'Lisa.
I checked the couch . . .
No 'Lisa.
I checked outside . . .
No 'Lisa.

Thus began my morning.

By this time my wife woke and I asked her if she knew where our 18 year-old was . . . And thus began her morning.

A call on the cell-phone . . . She is an hour away at her "friend's" house. She ran away. She is 18, you know. Doesn't matter she is 12 weeks away from finishing High School. She is with her "friend." She has walked out on her job, responsibilities, etc. to go and make a life for herself.

The scariest thing about all this is that I know exactly what she is thinking, how she is thinking and why she is thinking it. Been there, done that.
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[I'm the idiot stoner with the shirt. The beauty with the "Mother's Against Drunk Driving" shirt would become (and remain to be) my wife. ]

For some reason, I can’t get mad about it. All I can do is pray and carry on with life. My wife is the same way. Of course, I did move about 1000 pounds of food yesterday in the food bank we manage. And I did strip an 8’ x 10’ plot of ground and start turning it for a garden . . . all by hand. My wife says that instead of salty tears coming through my eyes, I cried with my body. Perhaps I did.

I don’t get it. She wants to walk away from a free college education just twelve weeks before the end of her High School career so she can “live her life”. When I told her not to touch the hot stove, she didn’t. When I told her to look both ways across the street and hold my hand, she did. When I put the dangers out of reach and told her what would be harmful, she listened. When I read the Bible, she heard. She went to AWANA. She has been involved in ministry. She is a smart girl, great with kids, lots of leadership potential.

Her siblings are treating this like a death. They cried most of the day: “Oh, here is ‘Lisa’s shirt. Here is her room.” Etc. What do you say when they ask if she is coming home? “Not right now” is my answer.

Last night we ate a small dinner and goofed around some. Then one of the kids suggested we go to The Point (a scenic overlook on campus) and pray. The moon was almost full and everything was bright, so we loaded up the dog and went to The Point. They played and screamed and ran around in the dark for about an hour. Finally, we gathered in the gazebo and prayed for ‘Lisa and talked about “if we were still 7 in the family, or are we six?”; “what if she doesn’t come back can I have her stuff?”; “Is she going to go to church?” and other stuff like that. The best one was, “is this God’s will?” Of course it is. How else is someone going to learn? God is teaching us all something right now, not just her. Everyone was satisfied, so we left.

Working up a hunger after playing following that small supper we went to Food Lion, got some pizza, went home and watched Buster Keaton at midnight.

Life goes on. Differently, but on it goes. I can't do much without thinking of her. Praying for her. Wondering about the state of her soul and the souls of those who she is with. I'm not mad, can't get mad. All I can do is pray that none die without being confronted with the burden of sin and the grace of God.

Proverbs 13:15.

What do I do? I have responsibilities to fulfill and my daughter is "out there." I have to administer and she is "out there." I have to teach and she is "out there." My wife and she worked at the same place . . . she is distraught because her daugher is "out there." I still have four children who are not ready for their sister to be "out there."

That's all I can say right now.

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