Baby Step Prayers
Peter is taking another step into adulthood today. He’s driving himself to school. He has strict instructions to call me when he gets there so I can relax. In the meantime, I wait.
As soon as I watch him pull away from the curb, tears come to my eyes. He’s only had his license a week. He’s a little hesitant, yet said he had the courage to do it. What if I pushed him off to his death? What if I never see him again and the rest of my life I wonder why I didn’t let him practice one more time? But no…I have entrusted his life to God’s care, since before he was even born. The question is, do I trust God?
The prayers stream out of me like breathing. Oh Lord, help him to focus. Help him to see, help him to be careful on that left hand turn, and Lord, at that place where he has to switch lanes, help him to get in the proper one. Keep him safe; keep other drivers safe…oh God.
I put in a game of Scrabble to help pass the time until he calls. One of the first words Maven plays is TENSIONS. Sigh!
I remember other firsts. Ryan’s first day of school; his first day in every new school. His first time out driving; his first day on his first job; Emily’s first day at a new school in a new country, her first date; her first job. When Ryan left us at eighteen to go back to the United States from New Zealand I cried so hard it felt like something was broken. I had never experienced such a severance and I never prayed so much in my life as during that year we were ten thousand miles apart. When Emily got married and moved out, that pain again, like an amputation. And her only eighteen miles away.
These steps are not nearly so nerve wracking for the kids, in the long run. I don’t remember my first drive alone. That may have more to do with how long ago it was than how memorable it was! And now I don’t worry a bit about Ryan or Emily driving. I’m sure I did have this same feeling of fire running through my veins for awhile when they both got their licenses. I’m wondering how long before it goes away this time.
My three children have faced the challenges of life with dignity that makes me proud. It’s so hard to be on the parent end and do the nudging. It’s so easy to second guess our decisions and try to make things easier for them. But the brutal fact is that life is tough. It’s full of challenges; it’s full of “firsts” that must be gotten through. So I make my voice positive and nonchalant as I send them off to face these steps, and only cry and pray when they can’t see me. And I wonder if that’s okay. I remember being afraid, and praying for help. Now I’m “afraid for” and it’s a much worse feeling. It makes me pray more diligently for them; it makes me rely on the Helper when I am helpless. It makes me ask God to help me with yet another “first”. And I’m starting to learn that the ongoing prayer that God wants us to experience is quite often a direct result of a new step my babies take.
Peter should be there by now. I need to be calm and get to work. Dear Lord…oh, thank you, Lord. There’s the phone. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Hey, he did have the courage, and hey, You took care of him. Now, what time does school get out?