Yesterday, like so many other parents, I sent my kids back to another school year. It was a rush of bus schedules, buying paper, pens, pencils, and binders, taking pictures, seeing friends again, and signing All. Of. Those. Forms. Whew!
This morning, all went a little smoother. The supplies were already at school and pictures didn’t need to be repeated. The bus was almost on time and everyone knew where their classroom was. I felt my soul take a deep breath and relish the beauty of routine restored.
When the bus had pulled away and I had folded a load of laundry, I set out to run. I am listening to Brennan Manning’s “Ragamuffin Gospel” lately as I run. Today’s chapter began with the parable of the talents. The words were so rich as I considered a coming school year and what I hope for my children. Here is what I prayed as I ran and what I will continue to pray.
God, I released them again. I sent them off to live in other’s care for hours of the day. I trusted them to safety others will have to create. And my heart longs to pray for safety.
I want their bodies and their hearts and their minds and their souls to be protected.
I want them to come home to me whole and safe at the end of each day. With all that is going on in the world and this country, safety seems like a good thing to ask for.
I want them to follow rules and make good choices.
I want them to do the work they are given with excellence and receive good grades.
I want them to earn citizenship awards. I want them to be well-liked by teachers and peers.
I want them to be saved from heartache and rejection. I want them to be safe.
And yet, Jesus tells us a story about servants and taking risks. He praises the biggest risks and throws out the one who chose safety. Jesus praises the one who dared to gamble with your money! WHAT? You want us to gamble?
Teach me to trust your love for me enough to risk stepping outside the box and coloring outside the lines. Teach me to trust that you love my being without my performance. And as you teach me to trust you, will you help me to teach them?
Will you fill their hearts with certainty for my love and their daddy’s love and Your love?
Will you assure them that they are loved enough to gamble and maybe even fail?
Will you pour such love into them that they will risk to love the unlovable?
Will you claim their hearts so completely that they will chance to develop the voices you gave them? Voices that might be different and challenging?
Will you call out to them from a burning bush in their own school yard with a dream for redemption? May they turn aside to see such a thing.