X. is loosing a tooth. This is a huge thing. It’s just one of the really exciting things happening for him. He’s transitioning to school and really being an amazing big brother. His communication has developed so much and he’s really coming into his own. It’s such a joy to watch him thrive and while I admit at times it’s hard to let go and see our family grow up I am so proud of him for all he’s accomplished.
This loose tooth is symbolic of so many things. A moving forward and change in life. It’s no surprise to me that he’s a little afraid to let it go. It’s in there hanging by more than a thread but not much. I’m sure if he pushed it around it would fall out on it’s own. Watching him eat, brush his teeth and attempt to drink has been fascinating and sweet. He’s gingerly babying it, not really ready to let it fall out. He’s declared next Thursday to be the day that it will go and was concerned when I said it might come sooner than he things. He’s a worrier like his mother and I think as exciting as life seems, he’s a little troubled but the lack of control and randomness of this life event.
Personally in times of trouble and anxiety I find myself regularly turning to Matthew 6. The classic passage “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (NLT 6:27) has always been helpful to me but how can I help X. understand that? How can I help him see that these transitions and exciting events are something to look forward to and worry doesn’t really help much?
It’s not easy. It takes time and investment from us as parents of course. It takes reassurance and patience and telling him the story of loose teeth and how it all works so that he knows what is happening, he knows what will come. It takes us listening and hearing that the anxieties are not just around the tooth but may in fact be tied to the changes he’s experiencing. It’s letting him know that no matter what we will be there, God will be there and he is never alone.
In many ways the investment we do with our children is something we see as too much for our own lives. This love and grace, this patience and repetition is something we do for others but often skip for ourselves. Maybe it’s time for us to put a little work in on ourselves. When we have worries that overwhelm us we should step outside of them and sink into the things that may bring us peace. We should sink into God, the Word and our community. We should sink into a time of reflection and pause and allow grace for ourselves on the journey.
Perhaps the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed you should stop yourself and think about what you might do for another person should you meet them in the same circumstance. Think of the way you might invest in them, care for them and surround them with love. Then invest that effort in yourself. If you are unable which many times we are, be sure to reach out into the community to get the help you need.
While worry doesn’t add a moment to our lives it is present in them. If we don’t invest in our health, our well being and our own spirit we cannot move past worry into peace and joy. Furthermore, investing in ourselves gives us the mental and physical reserves we need to fulfill our calling of investing in others. So go out this weekend and invest. Take the time to heal, to grow, to rest. You need it. You require it. The Sabbath was made for it. Go forth now and rest.