As a child, I had a strong desire for independence. I frequently said, rather defiantly, “I can do it myself.”
Mother let me do many things. When I crashed, she never said, “I told you so.” She simply picked me up and assured me things would go better the next time.
On the first day of school, we forgot a form that had to be completed. My mother assured the teacher she would bring it after school.
When I arrived home, I announced I would take it back to the school. This would involve walking four blocks, turning onto a busy street, walking a few more blocks and then crossing that busy street.
When my mother told me she would walk with me and we’d take it together, I informed her I was in the first grade and I could take it “all by myself.”
To my surprise, she said, “OK.”
I bravely started down the street. The neighbor’s big dog barked. I jumped and considered going home. I looked around. There was no one in sight.
I walked on. I felt a little disoriented. Even with my new glasses, things didn’t look quite the same when I was walking alone.
But I made it all the way to school, proudly delivered the form and started back home. But now I had new knowledge. It was not empowering. It was terrifying! I had to go back by that big dog and I was afraid.
I considered how I might get back home without passing the dog, but I didn’t know any other way. There were no cell phones in that time, so I couldn’t call my mother. And truth be known, my pride might have kept me from admitting I had made a terrible mistake.
I started for home. I constantly looked around me. A couple of times, I was sure I heard something behind me. I walked faster.
The dog began to bark. I began to run. I raced into the house and into my mother’s waiting arms. She held me for a long time.
Perhaps she was remembering the first time I walked away from her, intent on where my own journey of exploration might take me.
Perhaps she was thinking about that time in the future when I would drive away, move away, be too far away to share a hug.
Mothers ponder many things they don’t share with their children at the time. And children don’t always notice the subtle signs that their parents know more than they think.
I never noticed that day that my mother looked a little tired … perhaps even a little out of breath.
Years later, she told me of how she had followed close behind me that day, hiding behind trees and fending off the dog herself. She had to run ahead on the last lap to beat me home!
She also told me how proud she was of me when I was very careful crossing the street.
She told me how hard it was to watch me have those moments of anxiety without immediately revealing herself. I asked her how she did it. She said simply, “I stayed close and I prayed.”
My mother was teaching me a lesson that comforts me now, even more than then. She was always with me on life’s journey, no matter where I was, physically, emotionally or spiritually.
Sometimes she quickly intervened. Other times, she stepped out of the way, so I could see more clearly Him Who is The Way.
Today, she is still very present, even though she lives in Heaven and I currently live on earth. I pass the mirror and sometimes when I look at the “mature” (not old) me, I see her.
Sometimes when I say something, I realize the phrase first was spoken by her.
But most importantly, I realize how much God taught me about Himself through her.
We are never alone. God is with us always.
Even when we stubbornly choose what we think is our own way, we are on His Way.
He provides and protects us, even when we are not aware.
He allows us free choice. When we choose to take side trips, He is still there. But, in His Great Mercy, He always lights up the path that leads Home.
He is always glad to welcome us Home.
I feel secure today in the knowledge that my mother is still interceding for me. The Power of her prayers resonates from Heaven! She is a part of the “great cloud of witnesses” who watch over me, as I make my journey home.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear A Voice behind you, saying, “This is The Way; walk in it.”