Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Roller Coaster College

The empty roller coaster slides forward and beckons me. Holding my breath, I step in and sit down to exhale. I pull down the metal bar which determines if my ride ends in life or death. I pray it locks in properly.

This ride is familiar; only two years ago, I was involved in a college search for my son. It was an adventure, more than I anticipated. I tried to prepare myself by analyzing statistics, reviewing the majors, reading the mission statements and marketing material—anything I could get my hands on. Like the contrast of a wooden versus steel coaster; each university presentation was unique, but somehow similar. We visited at least a half-dozen schools and researched another dozen online. Matching the college details with my son’s personality, talents and goals was daunting.

With God’s help, and the help of others along the way, my son is thriving.

This time, I’m hoping my daughter’s college search will be smoother. I don’t like riding roller coasters all that much.

First, I need to pull on the safety bar to make sure it won’t budge. Am I the only one who does this? Coaster adventure-seekers love to throw their hands in the air on the ride, especially during the descent. Not me, I hold on tighter. This metal bar is all that I have when I have a million questions. Will she like the school? What kind of friends will she meet? How about safety? Will she learn a lot? And what will she be doing during her free time? I need to let the bar do its thing, and I do my thing. Research. Ask questions. And pray. School size. Student to teacher ratio. Average grades for admitted students. Population mix. Majors offered. God, help.

The real questions, the questions inside my heart and mind, won’t be handled by a metal bar, though. What I need to hold on to is God’s promises. He is always with me, and is always with her, too.

Up the hill we go. Looking at a local college. Touring an out-of-state college. Reading the college glossies. Slowly, slowly, slowly we climb. So much to see and read, and yet I know the curve to the downhill descent awaits. This is the curve where I trust our joint decision will match up with God’s plans for her.

Remembering the path laid out for my son, from the professor who offered a personal consultation to advise my son, to the other parents who gave me tips and hints along the way, to the prayers, the many, many prayers, I know God was there to help guide us in this process.

Maybe I’ll throw my hands in the air on the downhill after all. Who knows, I might like it.

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