Dear son,

What a difference a couple of decades make.  Things have changed a lot since your dad and I were your age, that’s for sure.

When we were 21, we were both working, living on love and “just a little bit.”  We listened to cassette tapes; played a Nintendo that may have come over on the ark, the way it looks now; and paid plenty-by-the-minute for long distance.

Now you’re the 21-year-old, and instead of working in a factory like your dad did and waiting to go to a private secular school, you’re nearly done with your junior year there at Bethel.  And forget cassettes; rather, you bop around campus with something called an iPod on which you’ve downloaded oodles of tunes from something else called the internet.

Instead of an ancient Nintendo with prehistoric graphics, you have X-Box marathons with your roomies there in Manges Hall.  Not only that, but you have an invention called a cell phone on your person at all times.

I know, I know.  A fellow is chopped liver without one.  Being plugged into the vast social network using an updated system of Egyptian hieroglyphics is of paramount importance.  Then again, it was physiologically impossible to accidentally dial someone up on a rotary phone by bumping it with your posterior.  I’m just sayin’.

Nonetheless, your dad and I have adapted well and are just that happy to have any way at all of communicating with you.  In fact, when I look back through my inbox, I see that it’s a hotbed of family interaction.

Remember this one?  “New Starbucks dark cherry mocha.  So good!”  It came one day while you were at school.

“Boo hiss.  Bring home the good kind 4 me?” I texted back.  This was met, not surprisingly, with silence.  Which could explain my own silence when I got this from you sometime later:  “Please put my stuff in the dryer.”

I can practice spotty cognition with the best of ‘em.

Many outgoing messages, I noted, ran along the lines of, “Where r u?” and, “Pick up ur brother.”  These were interspersed with numerous, “Call me,” directives.  I’ll bet you remember those.

There was pain in my inbox.  “I think I’m getting a toothache.”

Me:  “Shoot.”

And later, “My stomach hurts.”

Me:  Flurry of messages with questions about recent diet and maternal commentary about your total disregard for a little thing called sleep.

Reviewing these old messages was entertaining.  As much joy as it gives me, though, to have this connection with you, it’s my deep desire that you will find even greater joy in an inner life of communication with your Heavenly Father.

We’re so grateful, your dad and I, knowing that you’re sitting under the sound of solid teaching by professors who are passionate for Christ.  We gave thanks the day that revival broke out there during chapel and wept with happiness as we watched students responding to the call of the Holy Spirit.

My prayer is that you will learn the peace of casting all your cares upon the One Who never sleeps.  I pray, too, that you will learn to live with a moment-by-moment awareness of the presence of Christ.

May you develop a constant heart murmur, the diagnosis that all of us need, for therein lies the secret of praying without ceasing.  It’s there before the mercy seat, son, that you will find all the grace and help that you’ll ever need.

Finish strong,


Rhonda Schrock is a working-from-home mother who, with her husband, is raising 4 sons (ages 21, 17, 12, and 4).  A medical transcriptionist by day, she also writes a weekly column for The Goshen News in the early-morning hours, delighting readers with her humor and insights in a style that many have compared to the late Erma Bombeck.  In addition, she is a prolific blogger, maintaining her personal blog, The Natives are Getting Restless, while contributing to several others.  An admitted coffee snob, she devours books and loves to run.  When her tribe gets too restless, she points the BMV (Blue Mommy Van) toward her favorite coffee shop where she can be found, self-medicating with her beloved mochas.