When I returned home to my wife and daughter from a ZOE Group/New Wineskins strategy meeting in Nashville a few hours ago, they told me that my 13-year-old boy Matthew seemed reticent to bid them goodbye at the end of their laundry-doing visit at Camp Tahkodah yesterday afternoon.
It’s an odd coincidence. On the way to meet them in my car, I had been wondering how the conversation might have gone between Jesus and Mary before He went out into the wilderness to be baptized by His cousin, John; to fast right up to the brink of starvation; to be taunted by Satan himself; and to begin his ministry by choosing twelve no-accounts to finish the work he would start.
Did He hesitate like my Matt did yesterday? Had Jesus prepared his mother for that day when He would leave the carpentry shop? Did He tell her that James and Joses were old enough to take it over? Did He tell her He had to go? That His heart would burst if He had to wait another day?
Did she force a smile and say, “I know”?
Did she promise to check in on Him when she could?
Did she send a lunch with Him?
Did He caution her that when they met up again He would have another, larger family; that there would be other mothers and brothers and sisters?
Did she reassure Him that she would be all right; that His Father would take care of her? Did she suddenly remember those fateful words of prophecy from the old priest at the Temple on the day she took Him to be circumcised? That a sword would pierce her own soul, too? Did she, trembling, tell Him to be careful?
Did He tell her that His Father would take care of Him, but in a way she could not possibly imagine?
Did she tell Him what every mother tells a departing son: “Remember how much I love you. I will always be there for you”?
Sometimes I wish there were more of those moments described in scripture.
Then again, maybe some of them are too private to share.