When my son was little, the occasion often arose where he had to walk to school on his own. We live within visual distance of the school, and most days he was accompanied by the older kids from my home daycare. But because of absence, illness or other circumstances, there were days when he stood on the front step with a hint of fear in his voice as he set out on his own. "Mommy, will you watch me?"
He really wanted to be brave. He knew it was not really that far, and he walked it every day ... just not alone. I was unable to leave because of my younger charges, so I assured him that I would watch him from the porch until he was safe with the crossing guard at the corner. This gave him the confidence he needed to set out with boldness.
As his mother, and the victim of a hovering mother, I too was a little nervous. My own mother had read every crime statistic ever posted and was not shy about clipping articles and slipping them into my belongings, and pointing out every danger that lurked around the corner. Babies can drown in a teaspoon full of water. Children can choke on everything from Legos to hot dog parts and peanut butter. I cringed every time the new issue of Reader's Digest would come out and she'd flip to the 'Drama in Real Life' section, because some of those ridiculous adventures hampered my ambitions to walk through the parking lot of the local Walmart. Would I be attacked by a rogue lynx or a mountain lion? (Make sure you check under your vehicle as well as on top of it, in case it slashes at your ankles first to take you down.)
I know her intention was to keep me safe. I know she loved me and that was her motivation. I forgave her the persistence of her efforts, as long as she forgave me the eye rolls and huffy breathing while she recited the latest personal disaster she had read about.
Our town has swollen from 500 to 750 in the 48 years I've lived here, so it's not like we're talking inner city living when it comes to crime and danger. About 27 years ago, there was a little girl abducted and killed in the town 10 miles away, so we know we can never consider ourselves truly safe, but the chances my son would be snatched were slim. I always felt better when the big kids went with him. Then I didn't feel compelled to keep my eyes glued to him until he reached the corner.
Does God feel this way about us too? He is always aware of where we are, but when we are walking with Christian brothers and sisters who hold us accountable and watch out for our well being, does He feel more comfortable in letting us walk 'alone?'
Does He fret and worry and cross His arms while biting His fingernails as we skip through puddles and drag our bookbags?
All I know is that I am glad He's watching. I'm glad I have that assurance that if the stranger with the candy pulls up, He will be right there to save me. He is never far away, and all I need to do is call out.
Lori Boekeloo of Hennepin is a mother of three. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or friend her on Facebook for more humor and inspiration on a daily basis.