Watch over our daughter and place someone in her path that will help her see you as a personal friend. We commit our son to you and wait patiently for your return.
There is a book for prayer in Stauffer Chapel,* in which guests often record their prayers or comment on their visit. From time to time, we bring these into our prayer meetings, and join with these voices in intercession, petition, thanks, and praise.
This prayer was recorded about this time of year in 2007. Although I don’t know the circumstances it reflects, I can imagine these as the parents of a graduating daughter, and a son on the verge of leaving home, or, perhaps, whose homecoming they anxiously await. We’re mindful at this time of year of families and students at one or the other of these transitions (our School of Law and GSEP students held commencements this last weekend). Summer is a time when this community prays, and learns to pray, that those leaving us will enter into a new phase of life guarded by God’s providence, and that we will be ready to receive those on the way to us for the first time.
In The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day writes,
Writing a book is hard because you are “giving yourself away.” But if you love, you want to give yourself. (10)
It is a great act of trust, to release someone or something in which you have invested so much. Parents, artists, teachers, all know or come to know what it means to release what you hold most dear, and pray that the world will see what you do: that your child is a precious, sacred trust; that your song is as true as your own heart; that your idea can bring needed light to a darkened understanding.
May we receive one another, and all that is so dear to the other we encounter, with the honor each is due. May we see in everything we release into the world the seed of God’s intention for the world to come, and may we trust God to bring to completion the work begun in, and through, us.
And I would give up everything
And if you were to come up clean
And see you shine so bright in a world of woe
And they may pay us off in fame
But that is not why we came
And if it compromises truth then we will go
We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that’s good that’s how we’ll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way
The Avett Brothers, “Salvation Song”
*Although we occaisionally read these prayers and I may occaisionally include them here, I will always be cautious to protect the identities and specifics of these contributions. While the Stauffer prayer book is public prayer, I wish to honor the nature of these writings as prayer.