Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bawling at the Bus Stop

The air was crisp for an early September morn--signs of autumn. I felt an  unusual anticipation in the new day. As I walked briskly around the block, I noticed moms and children leaving their front doors and approaching the bus stop. Some children seemed excited by the thought of a fresh school year and ran happily ahead of their parent. Most of these ambitious upstarts were "first-timers." Having never darkened the door of a schoolhouse, they were now eagerly awaiting the new thrill of kindergarten. Other older, wiser children, fully aware of what lay before them, lagged behind. Some were actually pushed forward by their parent.

I was intrigued most by the moms of the kindergartners. Some emitted a great big sigh of relief, perhaps at the thought of finally delivering their young one into the care of another. Others stood motionless with a sleepy blank stare smeared across their faces, seemingly oblivious to the import of the day. A few others stood quietly weeping.

The "weeping" crowd tugged at my heart, especially since my neighbor fell into that category. As I rounded the corner to come back home from my morning walk, I observed Carol standing by the roadside with five-year-old Michael. With hair slicked back and bus card securely tied around his neck, he came flying into my yard.  

"Mrs. Rife, Mrs. Rife, I get to go to school today!" Michael fairly gleamed as he chattered on about his upcoming day.  

I gave Michael a generous squeeze, wished him well in his newfound venture, and sent him back to his mom, still waiting at the roadside. 

As I reached to open my front door, Carol yelled over, "I think I'm going to start bawling." 

I considered her words, then said, "That's okay, Carol; I'm a mom too, and that's just what moms do."

The image of Carol standing sadly by the roadside anticipating that first momentous goodbye in her son's life plagued me all day long. As the thought rattled around in my head, the Holy Spirit reminded me that each of us moms encounters bus stops in rearing our children. We moms learn early on that motherhood is a lifelong process of letting go. Beginning with the birthing bus stop, we move on to the childhood bus stop, only to travel on to the adolescent bus stop, the graduation bus stop, and I suppose, a life committed to a never-ending line of bus stops as we observe our grown children make their way in life. We mentally once again let go and let God have His way in their lives. Each bus stop encounter is a fresh taste of grief, a struggle to let go, to relax and allow God to carry our precious cargo to His desired destination. We cry, we adjust, and in time, we heal, moving on to the next phase of our lives.

Psalm 46:10 says, "Cease striving (let go, be still, relax) and know that I am God." God comes to us in our goodbyes and reminds us that He is in control. We are in His loving care and so are our cherished ones. God may ask us to say goodbye to one bus, but hello to another bus filled with all manner of good things just waiting to get off and enter our lives. As we reach for God, He replenishes the void in our hearts, filling it with Himself.

(Article excerpt from When Mourning Comes, Living Through Loss (c) 2002 Chuck and Eileen Rife)

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