Impossible
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 8:43PM
Emily in Family time, Life in the slow lane, Mom's goals, New City Kids Church, Sara Groves, ducklings, raising kids in the city

Photo by SF Knitter

If you are a mother, and probably even if you are not, you know the joy of finding the impossible moment when you can do just want you needed and wanted to do.  For me that is usually a long walk. 

The stars aligned today.  A good night’s sleep, waking on time, clean exercise clothes, a couple of hours when my child would be busy with someone other than myself, work completed, a silent cell phone, cooperating weather, even a few extra minutes to update my iPod (which was charged) with new music.  Impossible.

After delivering WJ to school I set off in the sunshine for a brisk walk along the waterfront.  Did I mention the weather?  Warm sun, cool breeze.  Impossible.

It was in the middle of this impossible moment when I spotted the springtime ducks swimming in the river.  There is just nothing like the fuzzy sweetness of a downy duckling swimming obediently behind its mother.  Multiplied by seven, I had to stop and watch.  And stopping I saw more.

Mama Duck was slightly frantic, more than slightly, as she ushered these seven young ones along the Hudson River.  “Relax!” I wanted to yell to her,  “Look around at this day!”

But it was I who looked around.  Behind her and the new babies rose up the skyscrapers of a metropolis.  Yards beyond her in the water, ferry boats zoomed commuters to work.  A giant barge chugged by.  Strange debris floated all about.  The strong current pulled out towards the sea.  The mother’s eyes darted in search of safety.  Her pace was too quick.  And the ducklings were pulled unexpectedly close, touching her and each other as they swam. 

Photo by Katherine "Cody" RobinsonIn that frantic mother duck, I saw myself.  I saw most of us.  I am bringing my child up right here right alongside of her.  Steel and concrete tower around us.  People and time zoom by and we dart along trying to keep the pace or keep out of the way.  I walk my child down streets that have known screaming and hatred and parked SUV’s that sometimes smoke and sometimes tick and sometimes are filled with destruction meant for the likes of me.  Cars crash, planes fall out of the sky, children vanish, the media bombards, abuse poisons.  Mama Duck and I, and probably you, face an impossible task.

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a benefit concert for New City Kids Church, an amazing ministry in this area that is making an impossible impact on the lives of the children about whom we often forget.  Kids growing up right here, along with mine, along with the ducks.  Recording artist, Sara Groves, sang these lyrics that night.  They were on my iPod this morning thanks to those extra minutes and aligned stars:

"We are pressed on every side; Full of fear and troubled thoughts; For good reason we carried heavy hearts."

For good reason. 

Heavy heart and darting eyes.  I too search each moment for the safety I can find, places to huddle and hide.  And I pull my child close.  Maybe too close.  And I move fast.  Too fast.  For good reason.

I have good reason to think it impossible to offer freedom and independence to my child.  I have good reason to hold him too close.    

No? 

Do you wonder about this?

Do I have the hope and trust that I need right now to provide enough space for my child’s roots to grow without crowding?  Can his sprouting leaves catch the sunlight or does my shadow hover too close?  Will his trunk grow strong around its broken places or will it wither and bend as an overzealous gardener pokes and prods too much with misguided protection?

It seems impossible to me, and probably to Mama Duck too, but the time is coming when we will let the ducklings wander a little farther from us.  And soon even out of our sight.  And soon even off to make a way of their own.  Will the Mama Duck rejoice as they waddle away?  Will she swell with anticipation and pride?  Will I? 

I hope so.  Because there is good reason.  Sara Groves’ song continues:

"For good reason hope is in our hearts… For good reason this joy is in our hearts…"

Letting go begins at birth.  It begins before birth when everything happening to the child is tucked away and hidden and there is no way to know if all is well.

For good reason I hope.  I have joy.  I relax.  This child is not mine alone.  It is an impossible task for me but it is not impossible.

What seems impossible to you?

Article originally appeared on Ready to Wait (http://readytowait.com/).
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