Sunday's gospel lesson was quite surprising, likely because I wasn't expecting it to appear this year. However, it became very clear that it was just the Word I needed to hear!
The gospel lesson was from the fourth chapter of the gospel of John, verses 5 through 42 -- the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan Woman at the Well. Since it is a bit of a long story, I'll ask that you read the story yourself and I'll share only what seemed to speak to me in this story. The Word I heard was, "Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city..." (Verse 28) This is not the first time I have been drawn to this verse in this story but not with this force. I know my heart has been hurting for the past several days as my daughter moved all her stuff to her new apartment with her husband in North Carolina, and this "heart hurt" is what I felt when I came across this verse Sunday morning.
As I carried this Word with me and pondered it in my heart, it became clear that God was gently (or perhaps not so gently) showing me I had done my job well as my daughter could load up her stuff into a U-Haul and drive away confidently and full of excitement for what possibilities might be ahead of her. I trust that I have done well raising my daughter in the knowledge and love of God and that it is time for me to take on a different role. I'm not certain what that will look like but I trust that God will help me find my way. John doesn't tell us whether the woman came back to get her water jar but what we do know is that water jars are essential, just as mothers are essential. My daughter will still need me as her mother, just in a different role.
It seems this transition for me is best described by Walter Brueggemann's concept of orientation (hands on mothering); disorientation (she's leaving the nest/transition and anticipating something new -- a birthing of sorts) to new orientation or re-orientation (a new and different relationship). I also know that this situation with my daughter is but a tiny part of this process. I wrote already about the deep healing God is doing within me and how it looks like this process. My friends, I am convinced there's more to come -- that God isn't finished with this work he wants to do within me.
And so I'll wait patiently (or at least I'll try!) and surrender to the work God desires to do within me. I'm certain that there is so much more to this...