Friday, December 14, 2012

Expectant in Bethlehem: Friday of the Second Week of Advent

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame;
   deliver me in your righteousness
Incline your ear to me,
   make haste to deliver me.
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold;
   for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.
   Psalm 31:1-3

“Mom, you’re embarrassing me!”

“That’s my job. It’s in the Mom Handbook.” We are both only partly joking.

I am grateful for the conversation. I am thankful for the humor that we can each inject into what could be a tense moment, and I am keenly aware of the importance of us staying connected. I sense a window of opportunity closing. There is so much I want to tell my daughter as she seeks wisdom and guidance farther and farther from home. She is moving beyond the sphere of my influence—and protection.

When I was new to this city, I became completely lost one night. Sixth months pregnant, with my two-year-old in the back seat of the car, I discovered that the way home was not simply a matter of reversing my route. There was a specific moment when I realized that nothing was familiar along the dimly lit urban streets. How far astray had I gone?

My husband was the only other person I knew in town; he was unreachable. My sense of urgency was heightened by the two young lives in my care and my need to protect them. Why is it that parenting makes one feel so vulnerable? I tried to retrace my route and to keep my panic at bay.  Finally I crossed a street with a name I recognized. I had never been that far along that particular road, but I was able to get my bearings.

It occurs to me that I want to feel protected just as much as I want to protect those I love. As I go about my life, I reach out for familiar touchstones and signposts. No wonder the image of God as a rock is such an enduring one. I have not traveled this far down the road of parenting before. And the way forward is not always as straightforward as it seems. I often go astray. But when I look at the person my daughter is becoming, I realize I recognize her. I know who she is, and I can get my bearings.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012