We received an email from number one child, as Charlie Chan would say, telling us about her stay in France. She is participating in WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is at a farm in southwest France. Here is the Facebook page she and another girl have created for the farm, La Ferme d’Art, which as you can see is beautiful. She has fully embraced the skill sets of self-sufficiency and has learned to bake bread, make jams and jellies, make pate, and other wonderful meals. My kids like to cook; they have watched me embrace the kitchen and work to master technique and balance of flavors. My daughter says we ate run-of-the-mill American cuisine until I read A YEAR IN PROVENCE and then our menu changed dramatically for the better, according to the kids.
What blew me away in my daughter’s email was her revelation that she found a book on the parables told by Jesus and a New Testament bible in the small library on the farm. She says she reads them in the mornings and prays after her readings. Wow! She is 26 – the same age as when I returned to the church. My wife is as steady as they come in her walk with the Lord. She never pushed; she just went to church and I decided I wanted to be with her on Sundays as well as the other days of the week so I began attending church again. For our daughter to let us know that she is reading scripture is heartwarming and satisfying as parents. Missy has an unshakeable faith, it has sustained her through a lot and she leans on it without hesitating, and it is reassuring that the apples haven’t fallen far from the tree.
Missy and I read Jon Krakauer’s book INTO THIN AIR and loved it so we read the rest of his books and articles, including INTO THE WILD a story about a young man who leaves after college graduation to explore America and Alaska where he meets his maker. Sean Penn bought the rights to the book and made a beautiful movie, I mean the cinematography is breathtaking. As an aside, Marcia Gay Harden (who plays the mother of Christopher McCandless) is the daughter of my dad’s best friend in college Thad Harden. The movie is well done and the soundtrack is haunting as sung by Eddie Vetter. Anyway in the end McCandless dies of starvation and his diary that chronicles his death is discovered. At the end of the movie my girls and their friends are just crying their eyes out, and my boys look at each other and ask: How can you die of starvation in Alaska in the spring time? They are Eagle scouts and moderately skilled outdoorsmen. Okay, the girls are pretty good in the woods as well they just got caught up in the moment of the movie. It is a matter of life and death to understand the situation and to have the where-with-all to deal with what is going on around you.
So the point is that skill sets are important. They need to be honed regularly or they get dull and useless. So, to learn that my daughter is sharpening her spiritual skills by daily readings of the Word is heartwarming to say the least. I am not sure if there is a more important challenge than to be spiritually fit and ready for the world. I am challenging myself to get back to daily readings, to sharpen my spiritual skills as well.