Lord of the stranger, I am leaving home today!
Soon I shall walk out that front door, through which I have come and gone these many years, but this time I shall not return today or tomorrow.
My parents, and all those who have loved me there, will watch me go, and I shall turn and wave my hand to them.
They will smile, and say nothing.
I shall turn my face forward to a wide and mysterious world.
And yet, I thank thee, O God, that I shall carry the old home with me as I go.
I thank thee that its love and watchful care, its selfless devotion, the habits it has lovingly built into my life, and the ideals it has set in my heart, will go with me to the wider world.
Grant me courage to stand staunchly true to its memory.
If it becomes necessary to outgrow anything of the old home, may I do it with loving understanding.
Grant me wisdom in choosing new friends, courage in new tasks, resolution for unexpected difficulties, patience in the long waits. Amen.
If I take the wings of the morning and fly to the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me and thy right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:10.
Ester Smith (mother) to Ewell Smith (son) before his leaving for military service, January 1966.