At this time of year, in South Africa, many families are preparing for the new academic year. Little ones start at pre-primary schools or ‘big school’. Older children go to high school or perhaps to university. Some will leave home and travel. For their parents, this is a new world, almost as much as it is for the young ones. At some stage in our lives we have to say goodbye to those we love, and there is an element of grief for those of us who stay behind, however pleased or proud we may be for those who are going. Whenever this may happen to you, I pray that this post will give you some assurance that, even in this, Jesus is with you. God bless you
They were leaving home, and my mother’s heart was unsure and sad. With two years between them I thought the big events in their lives would be staggered so that I could deal with one at a time. But somehow they always seemed to do the ‘big events’ within weeks of each other and now, ten days apart, they were going.
As the time drew closer I fought my feelings of desperation. I had cared for them for so long, they were still so young. How could I continue to care when they were both so far away – the one in a foreign land, the other in a city in a distant part of the country? I was determined I would not spoil their excitement by crying when they left – and yet how could I hold back the tears? In despair at my weakness and emotion, as much as my sadness at their leaving, I cried out to my God for help. I pleaded for courage and for the grace to let them go.
For a day or two nothing changed, and the day of the first departure drew nearer. Then, one night I had a dream.
I was standing still, watching them both walking away from me. I stood there, helpless, knowing that they were going beyond my circle of care. They walked steadfastly forward, not looking back, but ahead, into their future. And gradually I became aware of a man walking between them. Each of them on either side of him held his hand. And as I watched he turned his head and looked back and me. And smiled. And I knew then that I could let them go because they would be walking into their future with their hands in the hands of Jesus, for it was He who walked with them. Only Jesus could smile at me that way, with compassion, love and understanding. Only Jesus knew how I was feeling and only He could offer all the comfort I needed with a single smile.
The dream was so vivid that I remembered it clearly when I woke up. Gratefully I gave each of them to Jesus, for I knew that He could go with them and care for them wherever they went, even though I could not. And as I released them into His care, peace flooded through me. When the time came for them to go I was able to give them wings, in spite of my sadness, and I have watched them soar, with great joy, ever since.