Thursday, September 24, 2009

Great Expectations

Elizabeth has recently learned how to button and unbutton her clothes by herself. Last week, we were in a Mexican restaurant, and she needed to use the restroom so I took her. I stood and watched in amazement as she fiddled with the button on her shorts until it finally released, did her thing on the potty, carefully got herself dressed again and all buttoned up, and washed and dried her hands. All by herself. The only thing she needed me for was to open the heavy door.

Feeling kind of nostalgic, I looked her in the eye and asked, "Elizabeth, why are you growing up so quickly?" To which she replied - in a sort of pastoral care tone of voice - "Mom, I have to grow up so I can be a fire fighter."

Ah, yes, my child. As much as my heart sometimes aches when I'm forced to acknowledge the constant passage of time, you do have to grow up. I suspect that your vocational aspirations will change a hundred times over your lifetime, but regardless of where they settle, you do have great things to be for yourself and for the world. And that necessarily requires you becoming increasingly independent. Increasingly independent from me. I marvel at how, just three short years ago, you and I were one. You needed me for everything. How things have already changed so much.

I was retelling this story yesterday at a pastor's retreat, and one gentleman reminded me that Elizabeth's response was probably very similar to what Jesus' would have been, had Mary asked him the same question. "But Mom, I have to grow up so I can do the important work of God."

Regardless of what's to come, she already doing the work of God. Every day. In bits of wisdom like this, and in so many other ways, she is bringing about the realm of God in this world. And, I, like Mary, ponder these things in my heart.

1 comment:

Alli said...

Amen. Love this post.