Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
From Lauren Evans
This story has definitely taken on a new dimension for me as a mother. In many ways, when a child is born, she and her mother are still one entity. As the years go on, the mother and child stretch and pull at the ties that connect them, and one by one, bit by bit, the cords are loosened on that shared connection (though I suspect they never truly separate). This story of the young Jesus makes me think of this. Just the fact that they were able to sustain a day’s journey without making physical contact tells us that while Mary and Jesus were still connected in many ways, Jesus had developed a certain independence by this age, and Mary a certain level of trust. Sure, she’s anxious and distraught upon realizing he’s not with the group, and the scriptures tell us she and Joseph still didn’t quite understand, I get the sense from the final line, “His mother treasured all these things in her heart”, that deep down she really did know that this was just a glimpse of the letting go that would be necessary over the years to come.
This story, and it’s sentiment, also brings to mind this video by mother and artist, Lenka Clayton, wherein she lets her son, a toddler, go out on his own, watched by her until she decides he’s gone too far. This to me is such a lovely (and quite simple) reminder of this invisible tether that exists between mother and child. I encourage you to watch her two other videos from the series as well, where he wanders away from her in a back alley, and in a supermarket and contemplate how the context or setting of the experiment might change the mother’s level of trust.
What is something to which you feel tethered? How can you build trust in order to loosen the ties? Remember – perhaps completely letting go isn’t what we’re being called to do… or perhaps it is? I haven’t gotten that far yet in the journey…
The Distance I Can Be From My Son (Park)
By artist, Lenka Clayton
2013 / video series / 1:43 min
A series of videos that attempt to objectively measure the furthest distance I can be from my son in a variety of environments; a city park, a back alley and Shursave supermarket.