Skip to main content

Giving birth to an adult

As an adoptive mother, I don't have any horror stories about pregnancy and labor.  (That doesn't mean there isn't pain involved in adopting a child - it's just a different sort.)  However, now that my kids are all older teens, I am experiencing labor pains:  giving birth to adults.

My mom and I hardly ever fought....except for the summer right before I went away to college.  We wrangled all the time.  Looking back, I can see I was scared about heading off to college:  that I'd get lost on campus, that I'd hate my roommate, that I'd be far too stupid to pass any college course.  The fear came out as anger and downright bitchiness at my mom.  I was yearning for total independence and totally freaked out of the idea of independence, all at the same time

Fast forward 30 years.

Curly-haired Daughter, now a high school senior, told me last night that she "just wanted to figure things out for herself" and didn't want my input on anything, "unless it was financial".  (Yeah, I know....sigh....)  She's struggling to figure out the same thing I was trying to figure out 30 years ago - how to be her own woman, but in the process of laboring to bring forth that woman, she's causing me a lot of pain.

What she doesn't realize, of course, is that there is no such thing as a truly "independent" man or woman - we all need each other all the time, and most of all, we need God.  Jesus gives us a lovely example of this in the story of the Prodigal Son:  the young man who decides he just wants the money "owed" to him by his father and off he goes, all bright-lights-and-big-city.  Once the son gets to the point of munching on corn husks, he re-thinks his decision.

We all have our corn husk moments.  We all have a point where we realize that our own decisions and choices have left us in a bad place, and we have to re-trace our steps home.  Sometimes we do it with embarrassment and shame, sometimes with guilt, sometimes just with the knowledge that, in order to go forward, we have to go back.

The father in the Prodigal Son story must have had a very heavy heart as he watched his youngest son disappear over the horizon, pockets loaded with cash, and a head full of ill-conceived dreams.  The dad knew what lay ahead, if only because he was older and more experienced.  And he knew he had to let the son go - birth him into the world, a hard and painful emergence into adulthood and responsibility and choices and duties and constraints and concerns and promises and the weight of all those grown-up things.

I know Curly-haired Daughter has a lot of dreams and hopes and ideas for herself - some ill-conceived and some very thoughtfully planned out.  And I have to watch her bolt over that horizon, away from me and what she sees as my meddling ways.

Sadao Watanbe
Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come    to  life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.
(Luke 15:17-24)


Comments

Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…