I remember vividly the day my oldest son went to kindergarten. I had birthed three children in four years, and, quite honestly, was looking forward to each of them taking a few steps towards independence. My day-to-day logistics were challenging . My husband traveled during the week for work, and I was solo parenting every minute of every day. I was exhausted. Kindergarten came at just the right time.
My son was a smart, eager, obedient child, and I knew he would thrive in his schoolwork. I knew he would be happy, would grow, and bloom.
What caused me great anxiety and pain was the logistics of it all. I had never let this five-year-old child navigate our local grocery store by himself, how could I now trust that he would be able to get off the bus and find his classroom? I remember feeling stupefied that the school believed this child could be trusted with such a huge responsibility. I mean, what if it was too much for him? What if he couldn’t find his classroom? What if he walked out the front door and got kidnapped? What if…? What if…? WHAT IF…?
Somehow, he was able to make his way off the bus and into his classroom on that first day. The school had a plan in place to help these little ones find where they needed to go. When he arrived, there were teachers there to meet the bus, armed with room assignments and friendly smiles. No child was carelessly left to wander alone or got left behind. He felt confident and happy, and loved every minute of it.
I learned a lot about trusting the system.
Which I promptly forgot the day I put my child on a plane, bound for Mexico, all by himself, armed with nothing but a few suitcases and a new set of scriptures. He had no cell phone to use in case something went wrong. He spoke only English, which would not help him as soon as the plane landed in a foreign country. He had no idea who would be there to greet him, or how he would even find them. I was stupefied at my church that they trusted this teenager with such a big responsibility. What if he said the wrong thing at customs and got detained? What if he missed his flight? What if he walked out the door and got kidnapped? What if…? What if…? WHAT IF…?
And yet, somehow, he found his way. He navigated customs and airline gates without me. He occupied his time on the flight and managed to hold his nerves at bay. When he arrived, there were missionaries there to meet his flight, armed with signs, the unmistakable black tags, and friendly smiles. No elder or sister got left behind or was left to wander alone.
I was reminded again, humbly, that I need to trust the system.
It is terrifying to imagine sending your child out to face the world without you. Your mind conjures up the worst case scenarios and your insecurities convince you they will happen. But the Lord has a plan for these sons and daughters of ours, and they will be taken care of. This missionary program has procedures and logistics in place that ensure our children find their way. No one wanders alone or gets left behind.
They are happy; they grow; and, boy, do they ever bloom.