Every other week my blog will feature a reposted work. I had been a contributor on two different sites that have since closed or no longer include blogs. I will be reposting pieces that had originally been featured on one of these two sites.
This was originally posted May 17, 2011
Today was the second day that our son rode the bus to school. He walked Candice and me outside to wait really early. He yelled and laughed at a squirrel in a tree. He pointed happily to where the bus would be arriving. Then he screamed in terror when it was time to get on and leave. Mama and Papa discussed whether or not he’s ready for this as we walked back in the apartment.
As I thought it through, several points came to mind. I know he is going to have to be ready at some point to leave us for short periods of time, and then longer and longer periods. We both enjoy having him with us and we enjoy that he wants to be with us. We enjoy playing with him and holding him and talking to him. If he were ready for the bus, that might hurt a little. It might mean he was growing up, but it might also mean he was separating from his parents a little. It would be bittersweet to see him get used to the bus and used to us leaving him on it.
As I often do, I tried to compare my parenting to of Isaiah to my Heavenly Father’s parenting of me. God doesn’t want us to grow up and leave Him; so what is the comparison? We don’t get more mature and decide we don’t need God. On the other hand, we do spend specific times with him in solitary or community worship in order to refocus our hearts on his presence. If we are growing, when we get up and leave our church or our prayer closet we know that we are not leaving the presence of God. I thought, maybe if Isaiah were comfortable on the bus it wouldn’t mean he was separating from us; maybe it would mean that he is more able to hold us in his heart wherever he is and not feel abandoned if we weren’t close by.
But we put Isaiah on the bus; he didn’t decide he was ready to step away from our presence. Where is the correlation there? The idea of a Dark Night of the Soul is that the Father withdraws the effects of His presence when he feels we are ready, or to help us grow. As young followers we need to feel the presence of God; we need to see His good gifts; we need to hear the Spirit whispering into the depths of our soul. Then, when we are ready (even if we don’t know that we are ready) the Father puts us on the bus to preschool. He is on the bus and he is at preschool and he is holding our hand as we cry and hold our stuffed puppy, but he wants us to realize this on our own.
It’s easy to observe if Isaiah is ready; it’s easy to keep him home if he seems too stressed out; it’s easy to hold him and let him see us close and let him hear us whisper in his ear. However, it’s hard to understand the ways of the Father when we’re on the bus. Sometimes when I don’t feel God near me I scream out in terror. Sometimes when my prayers seem to be unheard I revert to pouting like a spiritual baby. Sometimes when the spiritual journey seems dry and lonely I doubt the Father’s love.
Am I ready to go to preschool?
Is my Heavenly Father helping me love Him for who he is, rather than for the gifts he gives?
Am I mature enough, secure enough, to love and follow without constant reassurances?
Am I wise enough to trust?
Has the Father put you on the bus lately?
Did you cry out in fear and anger? Or did you realize that he was still with you but in a different way?
As for Isaiah, he’s staying home tomorrow.