How Do You Tell Mom Goodbye?

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.

6 thoughts on “How Do You Tell Mom Goodbye?

  1. Isn’t it neat to know we WILL know the answers to all those questions someday? Great to be with you last week, and I’m looking forward to the Leadership Conference in a couple of weeks.DU

  2. I wonder if my sentiment would be as strong if my son was 30 when he left home….But I wonder too how much Mary knew. It is obvious at the wedding feast that she “knew”, I would just like to know what prepared her to “know”.

  3. I know how extraordinarily difficult it was for me when my first son left home to go to Annapolis at barely 17 to face challenges of many kinds. And I know how I felt the midnight I learned he was shipping out to the Middle East the following morning some six days after Kuwait was invaded in 1990 when he thought he might not possibly make it.But even in all of the strong feelings I’ve had as a mother to my own children and for the closeness we’ve always shared, I cannot begin to fathom Mary’s feelings I don’t think in all she had to face sending her son out into the world, 30 or not.And I’ve thought a lot about those things and how it might have been between Mary and her son as he grew up and became a young man and all. We know that he loved her very much and that even while hanging on the cross in terrible pain his thoughts were with her and he told John to look after her as he would his own mother and told Mary to consider John her son to be with her after he himself was gone.To me that expresses Jesus’ devotion to his mother in as great a way as any we could learn even with volumes of writings about their love for each other as mother and son.Thanks for this post, Keith, and the thoughts on Mary and her child. I just arrived to visit my own mother after 11 grueling months since she took me in (gladly, of course) last August 31 when I fled Katrina and it is a joy to be with her again. One of these days it will be Mary and Jesus together again and we can all look forward to that family reunion.

  4. It seems Mary prepared for Jesus’ destiny even as she sang her songin pregnancy, praising God for the greater good to come from her blessed purpose. And she might have said a little good bye when eight days after his birth, Simeon warned her that “a sword will pierce your own soul too.”The family flight to Egypt to escape murderous Herod and their return a few years later, only to hide from King Archelaus– more warnings of separation at any moment. As a preteen, “lost” in the temple,Jesus assured his anxious parents with obedience, but “his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”Not only do I think Mary knew, but I sense that throughout her life, growing up with Him and the prophesy of the bigger picture, her suffering prepared her to sacrifice her son nearly every day.

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