I had the opportunity to connect this past week with someone who knew me during the worst years of my life. Years when I cried and despaired of ever changing. They were the one I called on for support and who could see in me what I could not. Who held out hope for me when I had none.
We moved to different parts of the country and over time our friendship waned.
I used to attend, and then eventually lead, a bible study made up of older women. My children were young and I’d listen to these women chat about their adult children and grandchildren. I’d wonder at what age a mother feels no shame about what choices their kids make, especially if those choices are radically different from what you’d hope they’d make.
One time, my long ago friend was visiting and was able to attend the Bible study with me. She didn’t say too much afterwards. In all honesty, I thought I was all that and then some. I had met this friend at a Bible study at her house in a time when I had never read it for myself. Now here I was leading one. Well, then.
I turned 60 this past year. I haven’t felt shame for my kids’ choices for many years. They’ve made all the ones I never expected them to make when they were young. They’re pretty incredible human beings. I’m proud of the people they are. They’ve each had some pretty awful seasons in their lives already. Cancer, mental health issues, divorce and more. After talking with my friend, who continues to see in me what I cannot, I’m joining her in holding out hope for not only for myself, but also for my kids as they continue to grow and change.