It’s always interesting speaking with parents during this time of the year. They’re so conflicted! School is starting back up again and the kids will be spending less time at home, which leaves most parents torn. On one hand, they’ll miss their kids terribly. How many parents cry in the car on the way home from dropping their kids off on the first day of school? How many hold back tears as they watch their children take a seat on the bus in the morning? On the other hand, even if they don’t admit it outwardly, many want to see their kids get on that bus!
One mother recently noted, “I can’t wait until school starts so that I can get this house cleaned up.” I’ve heard a father say, “14 days until peace and quiet!” I’ve even seen parents look directly at their kids and say, “It’s time for you to go back to school!” There are some parents who are courageous enough to get on Facebook and let the social media world know, “The bus came… the kids left… Amen and amen.” Despite that, there’s always an added disclaimer shortly after stating, “…but I really do love my kids!”
I can feel the tension in my heart as I write this confession: There are times when I would prefer to be completely alone- away from my kids, my family and everyone else for that matter. It’s hard to admit to myself and even harder to write because I have such a deep love and affection for my family and friends, but it’s true! I want to take this one step further. I believe that God created us this way.
Time and time again, the Bible tells us about Jesus leaving his loved ones behind to go and find time alone with God. Imagine the litany of legitimate arguments that the disciples could have offered to thwart this practice. “Jesus, we’re afraid of what could happen to us while you’re away. Our time with you is limited and we need to know as much as possible! What if something unexpected happens and we need you? What if storms catch us on the sea or soldiers come for us? What if people ask us questions and we don’t have answers? What if we don’t know where you’re going? What if we don’t know where we are going?” Jesus knew those fears, but they did not stop Him. Something was so important that He left them alone despite.
We have responsibilities beyond our kids. Most of us have stacks of responsibilities and all of them beckon to us “We need more of you! Imagine how much better things could be with just a little more of your time!” I’m ashamed to admit how often I respond to these calls with, “I’m on my way,” instead of, “Wait your turn.”
If Jesus, of all people, needed to escape the responsibilities of life to spend time with God then so do we. I imagine that what God offers people during this time is different for everyone. He may offer peace and rest. He may offer guidance. He may just make His presence known. Whatever it is, time alone with God is where it will be found.
So to my kids I say, “Get on the bus,” and also, “I look forward to your return.” To the rest of my responsibilities I say, “I’ll be back soon.” Until then, I’ll be in pursuit of something great in the silence of my time alone with God.