“You want to protect your child from pain, and what you get instead is life and grace.”
From Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Ann Lamott
As parents, we all want to protect our children from pain. As soon as we learn we are expecting, we also realize that we have become hugely vulnerable; vulnerable in a way we didn’t even realize was possible. Until we become parents, we don’t understand why our parents worried so much about us. Now we understand. We realize that we would be instantly destroyed if anything were to happen to our precious child. The responsibility is huge and overwhelming. We research, we read, we child-proof our homes, we wake from terrifying dreams that something bad happened to our child and we couldn’t do anything about it. We all know what it is like.
We also know that most of the time those bad things don’t happen, and on the rare occasion that they do it’s because of a horrible accident or an unpreventable medical condition . It’s not because a parent did anything wrong, or because they didn’t plan or didn’t buy the right safety equipment. Bad things happen sometimes, even to good people who do everything right. Thank goodness bad things don’t happen very often, but if we are the one it happens to, one time is enough. This is where God comes in. This is where we do what we can, as humans, but then we must trust God to shoulder the worry. We must trust that God’s grace will guide and protect us and our children. It’s like a meme I’ve seen, the one where God says, “I will be doing the worrying today. I will not need your help. Live your life and leave the worry to me.” What a comforting thought, to leave your worries to God. I know it is easier said than done; that it sounds like a good idea in theory.
Prayerfully offering our worries to God takes dedication. Trusting God to shoulder them takes even more perseverance. The quotidian, the daily work, of opening our hearts and freeing our worries, is a practice of prayer and meditation. Easing our minds through moments of quieting thought brings relief from worry for many parents. Whether our child is an infant, teen or adult, the worry seems to go on. Managing it takes practice and the willingness to admit that we, as humans, can’t control everything. I have spent many hours, over many years, trying to make everything be the way I need it to be, the way I feel makes my children the safest, often to my own emotional detriment. Thinking that you are the person who must control everything to make life perfect is a huge job! Such a huge job in fact, that it can only be handled by a greater power, by God. Let God share the burden of your worry, and trust in God’s grace to protect you and your children. Let go and live your life. Let go and live each moment. Let go.