Every now and then you brush up against grace in a run of the mill place.

So 10 days ago I get a call: “Dad, can I come home for Easter?”

JP goes to a state school. They don’t get days off for Easter.

“Are you OK?” I ask.

“I’m fine. Just really tired. I’m over-extended. I need to recharge.”

My heart cracks open. My son wants to come from college to find rest and renewal.

“It’s a long trip just for the weekend, JP. The drive will be tiring all by itself. Do you want me to come get you?”

“I wouldn’t want you to do all that driving,” he says.

It’s 7 hours from Cincinnati to the University of Virginia.

“I could meet you half-way,” I say. “That way the drive is not so taxing. You could rest all the way home and the drive back would be shorter.”

“Alright – that would be great. Thank you,” he says.

I hang up the phone feeling happy that my college freshman wants to come home to recharge. Could there be a greater joy?

So last night, we meet at the parking lot of a Country Inn and Suites Hotel, just outside Charleston. It’s halfway between Cincinnati and Charlottesville. JP leaves his car there and I drive him home in mine. That gives us with 3 ½ hours for a leisurely chat on all that is unfolding in his life. Classes, friends, the squash team, summer work plans, budding career thoughts, his favorite mentor, spiritual life, girlfriend.

That drive! The open road . . . the free-flowing chat . . . it was a treasure. Couldn’t have been any better – even if we had been walking along a beautiful mountain trail. Nowhere I would rather be.

Soon we will have our first family meal together in 3 months. I’ll be cooking burgers. I can’t wait.

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Take. Eat.

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