Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The phone call at 8:50AM caught me off guard. “A position in the computer field has opened for your son,” the Air Force recruiter explained. “Have Seth in Scranton by 11:00AM. He’ll be sworn in and then leave for San Antonio.”

I knew this day was coming but still felt unprepared. Seth had joined the Air Force during his senior year of high school. He was supposed to leave for basic training eight weeks after graduation. However, a minor water skiing accident prevented him from reporting for duty. Seth was placed “on call” for the next window of opportunity in his field. And now, that opening had arrived.

With Scranton nearly two hours from our home, Seth had about ten minutes to prepare. While he showered, his dad gassed up the car and I gathered his belongings.

As I packed, the opening notes of Mariah Carey’s “Hero” came over Seth's radio. Tears filled my eyes and clogged my throat; I could hardly breathe.

“Hero” had been played at Seth’s high school Baccalaureate service. As the seniors took a carnation to someone in the audience who had fulfilled the role of “hero” in their lives, Carey’s melody resonated through the auditorium. Seth brought his carnation to his dad and me and "Hero" was indelibly linked to that memorable occasion.

As I packed Seth’s duffel bag, “Hero” took on a new association. I would always remember this morning with its mixture of pride and sorrow creating an overwhelming flood of emotions. The words seemed especially appropriate as Seth left to serve his country for the next four years.

With no time to spare, Seth grabbed his bag. Smelling of Brut deodorant and Zest soap, he hugged me tightly and kissed me good-bye. His dad and I joined hands with him and prayed a short but fervent prayer for God’s protection and guidance. Then the two of them ran to the car.

As the last strains of “Hero” echoed in the background, I heard our car pull out from the alley. My son was entering an entirely new phase of his life that would require the courage of a hero.

I sat among the tangled sheets on Seth’s bed, tears streaming down my face. As I prayerfully released my grown child, God eased a Scripture into my troubled thoughts: "And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV)

What comfort! God goes with our sons and daughters. Even when they are beyond our daily contact and guidance, God’s Word assures us that they are never beyond His.

©2011 Pamela D. Williams