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No matter the disappointment or mess up, 'All shall be well'

My 8-year-old seems to have hit a "first" recently, one that isn't in the baby books I read. She seems to have developed a conscience.

She'll come home from school and beckon me closer. Then she'll whisper the things she did wrong that day.

They're private, so I won't reveal them here. But they're pretty much what you'd expect from a normal, energetic second-grader.

I listen, nod and say, "Yes, you're right, that was a bad thing to do." I help her run through why it was wrong and how she could have done better. If possible, I help her think of ways to make it up to someone she's hurt. If not, I tell her to tell God about it. Finally, I assure her we love her, and it's all right.

I feel bemused, though. I don't know why she needs to tell me these things. Doesn't she know I always love her, no matter what she does?

I got a glimpse of how she feels last week, when I messed up and let down a bunch of nice people. I felt horrible, but there was nothing I could do at the time to fix it.

So, I tried telling God about it, as I had told my daughter to do. Oddly enough, I didn't feel God arguing with me about how horrible I was. That seemed to be beside the point.

The point was, instead, that everything would be all right. I was loved. I would have to make it up to the people I'd disappointed, of course, but it was all right.

Maybe that's what my daughter is looking for when she whispers to me about what happened in school. She wants to know whether it's all right.

One of my favorite saints is Lady Julian of Norwich, an English mystic of the 14th century. After she received visions of the Passion, she wrote of them and quoted the Lord as saying, "I can make all things well; I will make all things well; I shall make all things well; and thou canst see for thyself that all manner of things shall be well."

Aaahh. It sounds like it really is all right.

Even after I sin, I can repent, and it's all right. Even in pain and suffering, God's love is there, and it's all right.

Maybe that same unconditional love I feel for my daughter is somehow, in a small way, like the unconditional love God has for all of us. Maybe that's what we need to remember, that "all manner of things shall be well."

Passarelli is the mother of three and attends St. Timothy's Episcopal Church.

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