As a parent how do you know when to let go and when to hold on? I would love a black and white answer, but unfortunately I have come to realize that there isn’t a script for parenting (despite all of the books). I have also come to realize that parenting isn’t about holding on or letting go-- it’s about both.
Kids don’t all of sudden wake up one day and make great decisions. Do you ever hear a parent saying-- “I remember it so vividly. The day Johnny never made a bad decision again it was Feb. 14 1999, we were done.” Heck no!
In today’s readings God reminds us of the dichotomous nature of our faith life. For me it reminds me of the parenting dilemma. How does one hold on to their faith when the world doesn’t always make sense and it is difficult to find God’s handprint? When does one let go and let him work his wonders?
I think the image of the shepherd and his sheep was used in today’s readings to help us wrestle with these questions. I think our challenge on earth is to be both the shepherd and the sheep. As the sheep sometimes we just have to follow God’s lead, even if at the time it doesn’t make sense. We have to understand that he is the good shepherd who will guide, support, and protect his flock. And sometimes we have to step up and be the shepherd and engage in our faith journey. We have to take the lead and seek his truths. We can’t just sit back. He reminds us that this is going to be hard work, but the harvest is abundant. When we labor through these questions the yield will be bountiful.
Let us pray today to help us to remember to simultaneously hold on and let go, lead and follow, so God can take care of us in his infinite wisdom.