Two years ago today I turned fifty. I was celebrated by family and friends with a sweet surprise party organized by my children.
It was going to be my Year of Jubilee–a year of celebration and freedom.
About three years before, I had figured up on fingers as I sent my last homeschooled child to college that in 2013/2014:
All my children would be through undergraduate studies;
James Michael would be married and have his DVM degree;
and Dominic would be in the home stretch for Law School.
I had no idea I would bury my child.
I have thought a lot about how the year didn’t go as I planned and about how my year of celebration turned into a year of mourning. Instead of feeling free, I felt bound by sorrow and sadness, weighed down by grief and the gravity of carrying this heavy burden.
My fiftieth year stripped me of all illusion:
that what I hold is my own possession;
that this physical life is all there is;
that I have any control over the future;
or that my plans are secure.
I did not willingly surrender my child but surrendering him I was forced to accept that what I thought was mine is only on loan from God.
It is a hard, hard lesson--one that can find room only in a broken heart:
“Do I delight in what God gives me or in Who God is?”
It doesn’t seem that the children of Israel ever observed the Year of Jubilee. It was just too painful to return land to the original owner, to free slaves when you depended on their labor. It was too hard to give back what God had given to them.
There is a certain freedom in letting go–a certain weightlessness that comes from an open hand. It is not the freedom I would have chosen, but perhaps the one I need…
I discovered that Jubilee is really about what I hold in my heart and not what I have in my hands.
“Adonai is all I have,” I say;
therefore I will put my hope in him.
Adonai is good to those waiting for him,
to those who are seeking him out.
It is good to wait patiently
for the saving help of Adonai.
Lamentations 3:24-26 CJB