Earlier this week, my son and I had a small disagreement on our walk to school. I think he and I have very similar stubborn attitudes which does not make for a good combination early in the morning especially when I started the day already feeling behind. The short walk to drop him off took a very long time as he was dragging his feet every step of the way, and I was not helping. I wanted to put my foot down – he needed to pick up his bookbag and get moving. Sure, I could have picked up his bookbag for him and started walking hoping he’d just follow. I could have given in a little on the thing that started the disagreement in the first place, but I wanted to prove a point. Like I said, stubborn the both of us. Or maybe holding my ground is just a part of parenting, sometimes I’m not sure.
Anyway, when we finally reached the beginning of the long sidewalk that led up to school, he turned to me and said “leave me here.” I could tell he was upset, and I felt torn. I always walk him all the way to drop off, and I have never left him at the corner of the sidewalk to watch him walk the rest of the way. It was totally safe for him to do so, I could see the destination and the supervision right in front of me. I didn’t want him to walk away upset, but I also knew he needed time and so did I. More than that, however, I knew he needed just a little trust from me.
This Sunday’s readings reminded me of this encounter because I heard the echo of that same word in my brain as I read them – trust. In the first reading from the book of Wisdom, it says “the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans” (WIS 9:14). I stood and reconsidered half a dozen times as I watched him walk the rest of the way – did I do the right thing? Will his whole day be ruined? Our mortal plans are often unsure and we never have all the answers. Instead, we are called like the psalmist implores to take refuge in the Lord (Ps 90).
As I continued to explore this weeks’ readings, I finally came to the Gospel where the first few lines spoke about renouncing your parents and following God. The timid me, standing on the sidewalk watching my son walk away, did not want to read these lines. But again, it is not about my son walking away and leaving me behind. It is more about him discovering who he is and what he needs to be the person God is calling him to be. It is about him putting God first instead of me or anything else. It is about him wrestling with moments like these where perhaps he could have been better and perhaps I could have been a little better as well. And it is about trust – trust that God was both standing with me on the edge of that sidewalk and walking down the warm concrete beside him.
I pray for the grace for all of us to trust a little more in the Lord today as we journey through this messy life.