Saturday, February 19, 2011

How long must we worry about our kids?

Answer: Until we hear God say to us, "Welcome home".

Is there an imaginary cutoff period when
offspring become accountable
for their own actions?
Is there some moment in time when
parents become detached spectators in
the lives of their children and shrug,
'It's their life.', and feel nothing?

When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor
waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my daughter's

head and shakily I asked, 'When do you stop worrying?'
The nurse replied, 'When they get out of the accident stage..'

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a
classroom and heard how one of my children talked
incessantly, disrupted the class, and was headed for a
career making license plates.
As if to read my mind, another teacher said, 'Don't worry,
they all go through this stage and then you can sit back,
relax and enjoy them.'

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting
for the phone to ring, the cars to come home,
the front door to open. A friend said,
'They're trying to find themselves. Don't worry!
In a few years, they'll be adults. They'll be off on their own
they'll be out of your hair.'

By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable.
I was still worrying over my children, but there was a new wrinkle...

Even though they were on their own I continued to anguish over their futures, be tormented by their frustrations, absorbed in their disappointments, and stressed over their obstacles.

I think of the challenges ahead, and the worry continues...

My friends said that when my kids got married
I could stop worrying because then it was up to them.

I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by my own parent's
warm smiles and their occasional, 'You look pale. Are you
all right' ?'Call me the minute you get home'. 'How's life treating you?'
I feel of their love and concern for me still...

My friends said that when I became a grandparent
that I would really get to enjoy the happy little voices yelling,
"Grandma! Papa!" Alot of the fun, but none of the responsability.
But I find that I worry just as much about the little kids
as the big ones. How can anyone cope with all this incessant worry?

Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry?
Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to
blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the unknown?
Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us
to the highest form of earthly creation?

Does love and caring furtively disguise itself as worry?
Would I ever really choose the thoughtless, callous, unfeeling alternative? 

As I pondered this seemingly impossible dilemma I decided to pray about this so that I might find peace. This story came into my mind clearly. The one in Matthew chapter 13 where Peter walks on the water to Jesus, and looking around him at the stormy seas begins to doubt, and thus, begins to sink.

-Matthew 13:31-
31) "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

I don't think we will ever find a time when we cannot find something to worry about. That is simply the nature of the world in which we live. But I found solace in this:

-Matthew 11:28-30-
28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30) For my yoke is easy; and my burden is light.

As we learn to come unto Him through scripture study and prayer and by aligning our will to His, we partake of the atonement and worry is replaced by faith.

So too we teach our children by example where they can look for their help, strength, inspiration, salvation.... and PEACE.

Doctrine & Covenants101:16    "Be still and know that I am God."
Jesus is- The Great Healer

P.S. This is my re-write of a story that has been circulating on the internet. The original version is about us becoming our parents and passing the worry torch onto our children like a proverbial baton. Although the story was a good read, I felt to tweak it and add my own pictures, and completely re-write the ending to encourage faith in the Lord, and not somehow buy in to the theory that history has to repeat itself. -SD-

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