Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Patience among the thorns

"Family troubles" have prevented me from blogging for awhile.

I don't need to burden anyone with the details. But somehow I had gotten the notion that, once my kids were adults, their problems would be their own. That they would have sufficient commonsense to solve them (better still, avoid them). That I would somehow be on a higher, "post-parental" plane, looking down benignly (sort of like the Deists' "watchmaker" God), while the kids made their own way.

Yeah, right.

Ain't happening.

I left home at the age of 20, and never looked back. Never needed to be rescued from myself. Never needed to draw on my parents' emotional resources. Never had them up all night, or pacing and muttering to themselves. So, nobody warned me.

No one told me that, when my child made a bad decision that broke his heart, mine would break also. No one warned me that adult children sometimes need more mothering than they did when they were little. That they could do things that would consume me with anger, amazement (not in the good sense), and fear. That I might not be able to sail gracefully into old age, worried only about stiffening joints and the health of my 401(k).

"These are the times that try mens' souls." I have been thinking this all day, but cannot recall who said it. More to the point, from a Christian perspective, Mother Julian assures us that "all shall be well"; and Luke Bell, OSB, a monk at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight, believes that all our errors and troubles, even the most grievous, will end up woven in as bright threads in God's eternal plan:

"He uses the circumstances of our mistakes, and even our sins,
to create the beautiful pattern of his providence. In the radiant and final
beauty of the blessed in heaven, what was at the time a huge mistake
becomes a part of the perfection of the finished picture."
--A Deep and Subtle Joy, p.86.

So I'm holding these thoughts, trying to remain detached enough from my own distress to be able to offer the help needed at this time. And I'm praying that, in the end, the pattern comes out right.

Boy, am I praying.


Earthbound Spirit said...

Here via MP.
I'm there, too. It's hard to watch my adult children learn hard lessons. Holding you in the light...

Paul said...

No wisdom from me, not being a parent, though so many of my friends have shared stories of their grown children. But I do send prayers for your peace, discernment, and the gift of prudence (knowing and doing the appropriate thing to do, or not, in concrete yet always fluid circumstances).

Jan said...

Don't know if this would help, but I've found with my kids, I am often helped by praying as a mantra: "Bless ________, change me."

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

One of the reasons we were married six years before we had kids was that I knew that motherhood was forever. Like you, I tried to stand on my one feet when I left home. They just wouldn't let go of ME when it came to their drama, but I loved them anyway. But I saw my siblings bouncing back and it was hard for my parents.

Our kids are ours forever. They will claim independence when things are going well and will demand sanctuary and protection when things aren't. I think I understand that, though mine aren't gone yet.

And, meanwhile, you are in my prayers.