Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sometimes it's hard to watch...

Part of a mother's job is teaching her children to fly.  Watching them practice can be unnerving, but once they've got the hang if it she has to be ready to fold her wings and watch them fly away.

Yesterday we put our older daughter on a plane to Mongolia -- well, strictly speaking, on a plane to Vancouver, BC, where she spent part of the night in the airport before boarding a plane to Beijing.  Somewhere around 6:00 this evening she'll land in Beijing, and then, after a brief layover, she'll head to Ulaan Bataar, hopefully meet up with a friend, and then spend 2 1/2 weeks wandering.

Since she had written her thesis on Mongolia, it seemed -- when the opportunity arose -- utterly crazy not to take it.  But it was challenging to remain aloof from the packing and the planning, to trust (even though she spent 9 months living in Taiwan and a summer in Japan) that she could handle all the arrangements herself.  What must this heron mother think when she watches her scrawny little ones lift their incredible wings, not for the first time, but for the fourth, or fifth?  Does she ever stop wanting to give minor course corrections? And when they fly beyond sight distance, are they still on her mind?

I've known for some time, at an intellectual level, that there is a feminine aspect to God.  But I clearly remember the first moment I was actually able to internalize the divine femininity of God -- because it was also the first time I'd ever felt God as a physical, nurturing presence.  As my concepts and awareness of the Divine continue to evolve, I see that, for me, when God is "out there, somewhere," he is primarily male in my understanding.  When God feels close, touching or holding me, she becomes female: I keep having this image of a very large Native American woman cradling me in her arms, or someone delicate and airy resting a supportive hand on my shoulder.

And when God is within me?  I'm not really sure what that is, only that there is a sort of glow of recognition and a sense of rightness.  In some ways, that's the root of teaching our children to fly, I think -- helping them to find and recognize that sense of rightness within themselves, so they can take off, and soar; trust their wings and their sense of direction to find their way to whatever will become Home for them.

Still -- sometimes it's hard to watch...

5 comments:

Maureen said...

I know so well that feeling. I also think that if we didn't let them fly, they might not learn the when and why and who of coming Home.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Mongolia! My goodness ... can't she just fly around the block and be home for dinner? No wonder you're having a hard time.

S. Etole said...

Knowing the Lord's there to catch them helps, but it is still difficult!

M.L. Gallagher said...

I have a friend who drove across the desert of Mongolia -- and was enthralled with the people and place. A storied place.

Your daughter has your wings beneath her.

and yes, it is unnerving to watch them take flight and be so confident in their light. Sometimes, I feel like I've held my breath too long.

This is a really beautiful post Diane -- it touched my mother's heart and soul.

Hugs

karen gerstenberger said...

This is big work for both of you. May God be seen, heard, felt and known, within and without, as you both make this "journey" - you here at home, and K.C. in Mongolia. Sending love to you.