The truth of what it means to be a mom has hit me the last couple of days. See, E left her car across the Rockies when her internship with USA wrestling in Colorado Springs ended the last of August. She flew home, hoping that by the end of September there would be a job for her back in the Springs. However, with the downturn...er, make that crash, of our economy, there was not the typical movement in the USOC. In fact, there were no job openings at all. So Monday, E flew back to Colorado to retrieve her car and other belongings.
And Thursday she began the drive home. In theory, when she told us she'd decided to do this trip alone, rather than taking someone with her, it sounded reasonable. She wanted to take her time, stop and see friends, etc. But once she started on the road, all that theory was blasted out my window. My true maternal colors spread like autumn in the leaves. And every hour, I worried. Seriously, what was I thinking to allow a three day drive all by herself? What if she got tired? What if she blew a tire? What if her engine broke down out in the middle of Wyoming, and she was stranded on the side of an empty interstate? I have a vivid imagination, after all. And it has been my downfall more than once...
She made it to Jackson, Wyoming the first night without a single glitch. Called me many times along the way, just checking in, just easing my unease. She knows me. Plus, she was a little bored driving, and I was someone to pass the time with. Her phone is hooked up (magically, it seems to me) into her stereo system, so she doesn't have to hold it to her ear, just looks like she's talking to the air as she drives. Quite a bit like me, come to think of it--I talk to God a lot while I'm driving alone. Only He knows what it looks like to occupants of other cars.
But Thursday night, from her motel room, she called the Beve. Beve's E's default person, her 911. She told him that the forecast for Friday, through Montana and Wyoming was for snow. October 10, and the first significant storm of the season. "Was she anxious?" I asked him after he'd told her to just take her time, or even stay in Jackson another day or two, if it was really bad when she awoke in the morning. E drives a little Honda Civic Hybrid--really nice car, but not exactly an all-terrain vehicle. Beve told her to check in with me when she got up and going.
Okay, so maybe that news made me sleepless Thursday night. Maybe I began imagining her spinning off a high mountain pass road, straight into a deep ravine, where no one would know she'd even landed, the road being so lonely and all. Barely anyone with any sense driving in such a blizzard. That's right, my mind went straight to blizzard. I could picture her with cell-phone still working, calling me...and me unable to help. I went through how I'd find state patrol for Montana, getting them on my land line, while trying to talk to a dying daughter on my cell. Yes, 2 am awake dreams are always a little hysterical--and I don't mean I was laughing!
After my short post-midnight nap, which started about the time the Beve left for work at 6am, my phone rang. E! She was almost to Idaho Falls, and hadn't seen a flake of snow yet. North of her, the clouds looked a little ominous, but so far, so good. And all through the day, she kept me in the loop. She ran into the storm south of Billings, but just kept driving. Ran out of it before she got to Missoula, where she turned west toward Spokane, her destination for the weekend. As she drove through Spokane, she called me one last time, glad it was over, gleeful that she'd made the trip an hour shorter than she'd expected.
Worry, like a cape, had settled on my shoulders, and in that moment, I threw it off and began to breathe more easily. Yes, I know I'm a little hyper about these things, I know worry lives in me at the cell-level, but... most of us, even if we aren't mothers, struggle with worry one way or another. Life at the moment is a rather worrisome thing in our country. Money--or lack of it--often creates worry for us. Housing prices, employment rates, they all hit us where we live. I know--I KNOW--what Jesus says about worry. How He compares us to the birds of the air, the flowers in the field. How He tells us not to worry about food, drink, clothing... Of course, I know these words, I can cite chapter and verse for them, even the summation that follows in Matthew 6. "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Hmm, think about that with me for a minute. I wonder, after all those words about what we shouldn't worry about, if Jesus wasn't also admitting that worry is part of daily life. I mean, He says that each day has its trouble, has things that cause concern. He knows this. He knows who we are, how we're made. It's natural to be concerned about our children, natural to worry about them, even. But what will I do with that worry? Will I let it consume me--like it did for that sleepless night when I imagined the worst? Or will it be cause for prayer and ultimately, surrender. That is where I got to the other night. What helped me to sleep finally was the revelation (one I constantly have to relearn, but is also always new) that my children--and their times--are in His hands. The safest thing in life is knowing that nothing will happen to them that is outside of His rule, outside of His hands. They will not die one moment before He wills...nor will you or I. God is Sovereign. And my holding worry is the opposite of faith in that truth. So, as often as I get bogged down in it, that often I have to learn to lift my clenched fingers from their lives, and my grip on my own desires for them. He is sovereign. Amen.