“Where are you all going so late?”
Ethan and Sydney were wearing bike helmets. With incredible deductive powers of reasoning, I assumed they were going bike riding.
“Heading over to Pavilion. We’ll be back in an hour or so.”
“Do your folks know?”
What made this dialogue so intriguing was the reality that this much freedom–riding bikes alone, early evening, a half mile away–was newly acquired independence. Twelve and ten years of age, they’re growing in their ability to deal with responsibility.
They’re pioneering new areas of personal development.
Allowing kids to take on new responsibilities as they grow older is part of helping them develop independence. Owning their own stuff. They’re pilgrims in their story, making their way in uncharted territory.
We’re all pilgrims, really. Walking through our stories daily, in our decisions and choices. Stories that aren’t known, can’t be predicted, with twists and turns over which we have no control.
I’d like to have control. I sometimes delude myself into thinking I’m in control. I make plans that make it appear I’m totally in control.
Then life shows up. And something I hadn’t counted on throws my plans to the wind.
Fun surprises are welcomed. Winning the lottery would be wonderful. Finding I’d inherited a bunch of money from an unknown relative would be delightful.
Pain and suffering? I’ll pass.
Those are the times that who I really am comes to the surface. Who shows up is my decision.
The person of fear or the person of faith.
When two families I dearly love lost sons within ten days of each other a few months ago, I hurt deeply for them and was at a loss as to how to respond.When a dear friend got shingles with its incredible pain for a second time in a year, I didn’t know what to do for her. When my mom asks why she’s still here, missing my dad and tired of her loneliness, I have nothing for her.
Philip Yancey, author of many books, including Where Is God When It Hurts and Disappointment With God, speaks of how real pilgrims are people who help in the process when others feel lost and need to find their way. Because many of us question why we’re here or where we’re going.
I know where I’m going. Heaven is a guarantee for those who know Jesus personally. And I’m here to reflect Him to the world. For those who don’t have that relationship, questions abound about life, death and the existence of suffering.
Life in this world often doesn’t make sense.
As God’s pilgrims, we often bumble our way through life. Tripping on our good intentions. Slipping on our bad choices. Crashing in our own rebellion.
For those who follow Christ, when these things happen–and they always do–He picks us up, dusts us off and sets us back on the journey.
Ethan and Sydney are learning what it means to grow in responsibility. The better they choose, the more opportunities they’ll get to expand their options.
I’m no different. Learning to walk with Jesus. Making mistakes. Falling down. Being picked up again.
For this pilgrim, that’s progress.