A Farewell Gift
My wife and I had just finished the 150-mile trip home from our daughter’s college. It was the first time in our lives that she would be gone for any length of time. We wondered how other people had survived it.
Later in bed, I thought of the time I started college. My father had driven me, too. We rode in the farm truck. In the back was the trunk I had bought with money earned by pitching hay that summer.
My mother had to stay behind to keep the cattle from getting into the crops.
I, the fourth in a line of brothers, was the first to go away to college. My mother cried and I cried. After we were out of sight of the farm, I began to feel jelly-like and scared.
The truck was slow and I was glad. I didn’t want to get to the city too soon. I remembered how my father and I stopped by a stream and ate the sandwiches my mother had prepared.
My daughter’s day was different, of course. We stopped at a classy roadside place and ordered fried chicken. Then we went to the dormitory and my wife and I went in with her and helped her settle. My wife lingered with her and I went to the car. When my wite came back, she was wiping her eyes.
Back on the road, I heard a sob beside me. I knew that my wife was thinking about the new kind of loneliness before us.
My father didn’t let me stay at the dormitory. A room in a private home was cheaper and better if a student wanted to work his way through.
We toured the town a bit, but the traffic confused him. I said maybe I’d better go on my own.
I shook hands with my father in the truck. For a long, haunting moment he looked straight ahead, not saying a word, but I knew he was going to make a little speech.
“I can’t tell you nothing,” he finally said. “I never went to college and none of your brothers went to college. I can’t say don’t do this and do that, because everything is different and I don’t know what is going to come up. I can’t help you much with money, but I know things will work out.”
He gave me a brand-new checkbook, “If things get pushing, write a small check. But when you write one, send me a letter and let me know how much. There are some things we can always sell.”
“You know what you want to be and they’ll tell you what to take,” my father continued. “When you get a job, be sure it’s honest and work hard.”
Then my dad reached down beside his seat and brought out the old, dingy Bible that he had read so often, the one he used when he wanted to look something up in a friendly argument with one of the neighbors. I knew he would miss it. I also knew, though, that I must take it.
He didn’t tell me to read it every morning. He just said, “This can help you if you will let it.”
Did it help? I got through college without being a burden on my family. I have had a good earning capacity ever since. And... I have joy of purpose.
When I finished school, I took the Bible back to my father, but he said he wanted me to keep it. “You will have a kid in school some day,” he told me. “Let the first one take that Bible along.”
Now, too late, I remembered. It would have been so nice to have given it to my daughter when she got out of the car. But I didn’t. Things were different. I was prosperous and my father wasn’t. I had gone places. I could give her everything. My father could give me only a battered old Bible.
I’d been able to give my daughter what she needed. Or had I? I don’t really believe now that I gave her half as much as my father gave me.
So the next morning, I wrapped up the battered old Bible and sent it to her. I wrote a note. “I love you so much... here-this can help you, if you will let it.”
I love you so much...
Here... this can help you... if you will let it... download here.
Have a great day...