"The LORD will always guide you and provide good things to eat when you are in the desert. He will make you healthy. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water or like a stream that never runs dry." Isaiah 58:10-12

07 May 2009

On Motherhood

The day has finally arrived. Another graduation. It's hard to believe that in a few short hours I will be saying "goodbye" to some fine young people, possibly for the last time. As much as I might like to think otherwise, I realize that I will probably never see some of them again.

It's a strange, bittersweet feeling. Strange, because these are not actually my children and yet I feel almost as if they were. For anyone who is an older single person in the field of education, you will probably understand this feeling.

Yesterday I was in a local store looking at greeting cards and was confronted with the "Mother's Day" selection. I realized, with some sense of regret, that I will probably never receive a Mother's Day card nor hear someone call me Mom. Of course, God may change that and allow me to be a mother some day, but I'm choosing not to dwell or count on it.

One of the greatest things about being an educator in an academic setting is that I have many wonderful opportunities to impact the lives of other people's children. I have come to care tremendously for the students that the Lord brings into my world and I'm thankful that I have the chance to teach them and help mold and prepare them for the larger world. I get to teach them how to do research for their projects and papers, rejoice with them when they do well and exhort them to greater effort and higher goals. I get to listen to their struggles and lend them a sympathetic ear and to cheer for them when they excel.

Not long ago, I was startled when one young international lady said to me, "You remind me of my mom." At first I was a bit put off, because I was feeling "old", then I realized what a compliment that was! Motherhood is, in many ways, a state of mind; one that involves encouragment, exhortation, sacrifice, love, commitment and imparting strong moral and biblical values. It is also a choice

Yes, I may not ever have biological children of my own. When I look around me, though, and see all the wonderful young people who are in my life, in my library and often in my house, I realize that I have been given the blessing of being, in many ways, a surrogate "mother" to many children. I am among women truly blessed.

05 May 2009

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

As we approach the end of the semester, I have been talking with a number of students about their plans for the summer and the future. A number of my "regulars" in the library are graduating this week. Over the past few days many of them have made comments about seeing the "light at the end of the tunnel." They are glad to be finished with their studies and excited about their future. Although I must admit that I will miss them very much, I can't help but feel excited for them.

How well I remember the excitement I felt when I was at the same point in life! It's a complex feeling of accomplishment, nostalgia, excitement, relief and a little trepidation all rolled into a glowing ball that seems to fill every atom of your being and ooze out your pores! At the time, I believed that I'd never really feel that way again.

I was right. There truly is nothing exactly like the feeling that I experienced upon graduating from college with my B.A. and preparing to face the world for the first time, in many respects, as that wonderous and empowered being -- an adult.

I was also wrong. Over the years since that day I have experienced a number of major milestones in the journey of my life, including: starting graduate school, finishing graduate school, moving to another country, working in another country, moving back to the U.S. after an absence of several years, starting grad school again and graduating for a third time. Through all of these, God has blessed me with His presence and with new and equally exciting experiences.

Each milestone had its own "ups" and "downs" and its own blessings. Each one has served to remind me that the longer I follow God and the more I trust in Him, the better life will be. Just like the foothills and mountains in which I now love, every mountain and valley, every twist in the road of life brings new beautiful scenery. All I have to do is look up from the road and enjoy it.

It reminds me of the first stanza of a poem by Robert Browning:
"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
the last of life for which the first was made.

Our times are in his hand
who saith, 'A whole I planned,
youth shows but half;
Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!'"

"Rabbi Ben Ezra" http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/295.html