Earlier in the school year, at a workshop for teachers, this twenty-something man conducting the workshop said something like, “You know, we all have parents we can turn to when we need help…” and I felt myself suddenly and overwhelmingly filled with a huge sense of loss and grief. My nose and eyes started filling with snot and tears. I had to get up and leave the room.
No, I was thinking, we don’t all have parents we can turn to when we need help. My mom is dead, and my 99 year-old dad needs me to be there for him now – not the other way around. I’m responsible for his health and safety and finances and well-being. No, I thought, don’t assume that everybody in that room has parents they can turn to for support. As I sobbed, and blew my nose into a wad of toilet paper in the bathroom – feeling all sorts of sorry for myself – I was thinking the days when I had a mother and father to turn to for help were gone for me.
But the other day, as I was contemplating the nature of God, Love, this thought came to me: God is responsible for me. It was a really simple thought, but I found it wonderfully comforting. “God is responsible for me,” I said out loud to myself, and turned the idea of it over in my thoughts, examining it. God made me, maintains me, governs, and guides me, I reasoned. I am here because of God, and for God. I am God’s, and God is mine – my Mother and Father. I can nestle safe and secure in Love’s arms and trust She will take care of me. God, Love, is where I can always turn when I need help.
A sense of burden was lifted from me in that moment, and a sense of peace filled me. The false sense of responsibility I’d been feeling for everyone I come in contact with dissolved. I realized God, Love, is responsible for ALL Her children – Dad, my sons, husband, friends, students, colleagues, strangers on the street, and, yes, me, too. In that moment it was clear to me that I’m not alone, on my own, here. We really DO all have a Father-Mother we can turn to when we need help.
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
– Psalms 18:32
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
– Psalms 100:3
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee…
– Psalms 55:22
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings…
– Deuteronomy 32:11
Two eagles in a nest in Skagit County, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.