This morning, my daughter Aubrey will get in her car and drive east, going on to a new duty assignment after finishing more than a year and a half of Army service and training at the Presidio of Monterey.

Tonight, my son Lee will take a young lady to dinner on a first date that it took him a month to get up the courage to ask for.

Tomorrow, their mother – my first wife – will pack the accumulations of the last 30 years of her life into a truck and move without a job a time zone away from the only home she and the children she raised have known for a quarter of a century.

Today or tomorrow or the next day, some officials at a bank will decide whether or not to grant me a loan which will organize my finances and move me away from the daunting financial challenges of the last two-plus years.

By the weekend, we will begin moving into a new house.

In the coming weeks, my daughter Hannah will probably decide whether to pursue a career in education, for which she went to college, or to go off in another direction.

Next month, I will negotiate a work contract that stands a good chance of defining, for good or ill, the next 20 years of my vocational life.

By the holidays, my son-in-law Austin will be in combat and his wife, my daughter Sophie, will either be in nursing school or preparing to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail.

In our family, these are challenging and changing times. There is a whirlwind of hope and sorrow, of gain and loss, of aspiration and uncertainty.

Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow has yet to come.

And today is about steeling the courage and faith to jump without reservation into uncertainty and promise.

I am a worrier by nature, and a sentimentalist. I crave stability and predictability. I like my adventure fenced in and controlled. I like knowing what the morrow brings.

And these days of change have gathered on the horizon like a darkening storm, a brick wall toward which life is blindly speeding. I have anticipated them with dread, realizing their necessity and unavoidability, but wishing somehow to avoid them.

Until Sunday.

Sunday when I thought about courage and resolve.

Sunday when a verse came to mind and I flipped through the Bible to find it while the lesson at church went another direction.

“Peace I leave with you,” Jesus said, “my peace I give unto you.

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

I thought of it and others, “Fear not,” and “Be of good cheer,” and realized they were commandments.

Not mere happy talk passed off by the Son of God to make conversation, but directives and dictates, as binding upon man and demanding of obedience as “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not lie.”

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

After church I went to my camp and pushed a lawnmower for two and a half hours in the humid summer heat. I thought about those words and this situation and I felt the whisper of comfort and assurance, the witness of truth that in this situation that is the Lord’s counsel.


And a switch flipped.

The switch of “It will work out.” The switch of “I am in charge here.” The belief that there is a plan and a purpose and that, like a raft on the rapids, in a moment we will be through this turbulence and a good current will take us.

Some might think it delusion. Some might think it a juvenile defense mechanism. It may look like a denial, a superstition.

But right now it is my faith.

And in all situations it is the answer.

Because this isn’t about my problems, it is about yours. It is about the whirlwinds that blow into every life, in every form, in every age.

And about the simple command and counsel of he who was sent to be our shepherd and savior, he who comprehends our pains because he has suffered his own.

“Peace I leave with you,” Jesus said, “my peace I give unto you.

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”