It’s that time of year when both high school and college graduates are preparing for big changes in life. As a parent, I’m very familiar with these types of changes! Jesus also understood that life is full of changes and with one powerful statement, He gives us so much insight about how to deal with change.
As he was on the cross, he looked out to see two people he loved more than anyone in the world: His mother and beloved disciple, John. He looked out at them and says, “Woman behold your son; John behold your mother.” And the Bible says from that day forward John took Mary in to his home. Talk about losing the familiar, I mean Mary had loved being the mother of Jesus. She fretted over Him, she worried about Him, and yet she was so proud of Him. For three years, John lived with Jesus and travelled throughout Israel with him, seeing the teaching, preaching and healing. It was going to be a big change. I think there are 3 things we can learn from Jesus statement.
First of all, I think when Jesus looked out at John and Mary he wanted them to lean on each other, to understand they needed each other. Whenever you experience loss you tend to withdraw and grieve alone and Jesus was trying say, you need each other, you can have a meaningful relationship. Woman behold your son; John behold your mother. We need each other! We need a family of faith. We need our friends. We need family. While experiencing life’s transitions, it’s not a time to withdraw and be alone. It’s a time to reach out and to be there for one another.
Secondly, I think Jesus wanted them to know that through God’s power they could reinvent their love. They could do life in a different kind of way. Life does change and you have to reinvent the way you love in the situation because things are different.
Sometimes I see parents who hold tightly to the familiar; they treat their 25 year old the same way they did when they were five years old because they are comfortable with that dynamic. If you live long enough there is a good chance the child who received such care when they were so small has to become the caregiver as parents grow older. That’s life. Our relationships are always evolving and you get comfortable with the way it is. You get familiar and then it changes again and you have to learn how to love in a new situation. I believe that’s what Jesus was hoping for John and for Mary, to be able for them to know you can trust God to help you create your life in a new way. You can trust the God of creation to help you recreate your love.
Third, I think that John was hoping Mary and John would love each other with an unconditional love the way that Jesus had loved them. To love unconditionally. When was the last time that you did something just to make someone smile; maybe a friend, spouse, parent or child. What could you do to bless someone’s life, whom you love unconditionally? It’s when you love unconditionally that you know how important it is to lean on each other because God gives the power to reinvent your relationships when you love in an unconditional way.
I also believe Jesus wanted John and Mary to know they could make new memories and not just celebrate the old ones. Are all the memories you talk about the things that happened two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago? Or do you talk about any new memories that you’re making. Do you talk about any memories that you hope to make soon? You see if you’re open it is God who gives you the power, the resurrection in our lives to be able to love in new ways that are unfamiliar and maybe uncomfortable.
It’s natural to want to hold on to the familiar, but life is always changing until the day you die. The good news is when we lean on one another, God gives us the power to reinvent and love unconditionally. He opens our eyes to see new ways to love and live all the days of our life.