A LONGER ROPE THAN I THOUGHT
By: Ginny Luedeman
January 3, 2005
CS Sentinel

SCENE !: I’m reaching the end of my rope. Ashley and I are shopping, and I feel I’ve gotten no gratitude for anything. I’ve had it! In a not so subtle way, I make my position VERY clear, right in front of the jewelry counter, where we are looking at high school graduation rings.

Ashley is our seventeen-year-old granddaughter. We’ve raised her since she was about two.
When the last of our first four children left home, I must admit, Craig (my husband) and I felt like celebrating. We hadn’t found raising our kids to be a piece of cake. It really felt good to make choices without considering the kids’ needs first. We felt so free, like newlyweds.
One of the first things we did was to buy a little Lance camper for our truck. It was tiny, but big enough for two, which was just perfect. I think we took two or three trips to the coast as a couple. I remember the feeling of bliss as I slept in it and listened to the rolling waves. This was heaven!
Six months later, everything fell apart in our son’s life. He and his wife split up, and we got a call from our daughter-in-law telling us that she couldn’t care for Ashley. The situation seemed desperate, and she asked if she could bring her over right away, along with all of her things. She was afraid for Ashley’s safety if we didn’t take her.
I felt I had no choice. To put the child up for foster care was out of the question, and we were the only ones able to take her. I realized that I was going to become a parent again--and within two hours. I still remember where I was sitting when the wave of self-pity hit me that day.
For the next year, I admit, I cried a lot. I often felt so tired and discouraged. Ashley was awake, sometimes for hours, in the night. I rocked and sang to her as I silently wept, reaching out to my divine Parent to hold me also.
Slowly, with prayer and the much needed support of ideas I found in my spiritual study, self-pity gave way to a sense of God’s unselfed love. Condemnation began to give way to compassion for this child’s parents. A conviction of God’s care that included Ashley, my husband, and me, melted away fatigue.
Wonderful friends and family stepped in to help us in so many ways. Eventually we bought a bigger camper, thanks to the generosity of my parents. Nothing was lost. In fact, we were all so blessed.
Five years later when we became parents of our infant grandson, Josh, Craig and I were ready to do whatever was needed, and there was no self-pity to get in the way of being Josh’s parents.
This past fall, in preparation for Halloween, I stuck some little misshapen pumpkin drawings to the windows. I had saved these from the children’s preschool years. They make me smile. And I realize how blessed I am that these dear children are with us.

SCENE 2: Back to our shopping trip this week. Our flare-up amounts to a teenage/mom thing. So after the episode in the store, and back in the security of our home, we wade through the tears and some needed talking, to get to the bottom of things. My rope’s getting longer as my patience grows. And there’s healing.

It isn’t easy being raised by your grandparents, and Ashley is facing some of these issues. I admire her courage as she deals with questions about why her parents aren’t raising her. She’s finding satisfying answers through her own prayer and spiritual growth.
Together we’ve talked about how the best--or the worst--parenting never interferes with her relationship to God, her divine Parent. She and I have come to understand together that divine Love never comes or goes. Love never gives up on us, never moves us out of our place--after all, we are the very “apple of [God’s] eye” (see Deut. 32:10).
Understanding our place as loved children of the one divine Parent brings feelings of love that are so powerful, constant, and tender. Nothing on this earth can move us from the joy and peace of our forever place in that household of Love.
Ashley and I are both growing up, and our Father-Mother is guiding these steps we’re taking with increasing patience.
This passage from Mary Baker Eddy’s primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has proved to be supportive--and so true: “Whatever hold human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power” (p. 192; emphasis added). We’ve been putting that divine power to good use. Hug by hug, and thought by thought, we’re feeling a sense of love that is more powerful than the sound of the ocean--filling us with joy and freedom.
As we prepare for Ashley’s high school graduation, I’m rejoicing and thanking our Father-Mother God for these lessons in love we’re both learning. I’m so grateful that the best Parent of all goes with Ashley as she moves forward in life.

SCENE 3: Ashley and I end our shopping day with a hug--as we always do. And this one feels especially good for both of us. I can just feel the smile of God.


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Ginny Luedeman

 

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