The other day when meditating on a joyful mystery of the rosary: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple, I wondered: Did they ever consider making this a sorrowful mystery, “The Losing of Jesus for Three Days?”
Mary’s experience of searching anxiously for her son reminded me of one of my own experiences—one where the Blessed Mother and I may have shared similar feelings of relief and gratitude.
Summer before last we took a family vacation to Legoland near San Diego. During our visit to the theme park, my husband Matt took the kids [then 3 and 7]into one of the attractions: an enclosed multi-level play structure filled with canons shooting nerf-like ammo. Assuming our 3-year-old daughter wouldn’t last long in the war zone, I waited outside for her.
We were right. She didn’t last long. It was chaos. What were we thinking?! I couldn’t see Vaughn anywhere through the mesh walls so went in to check on her.
I found Matt and Quinn, but no Vaughn. Matt, concerned as well, was also looking for her. We continued to look through the crowd of wild screaming kids, with increasing urgency. No sign. She wasn’t answering. Panic was creeping in.
I left the structure spinning around, calling her name. No response. I headed towards a nearby information booth [prepared to close down Legoland if necessary!], when I spotted her: crying, in the arms of an older woman, both searching for us.
Thank God. I’ve never felt so relieved, so grateful—and at the same time, so unworthy of the gift of my daughter. How could God trust me with something so precious?
Did Mary feel the same way when she and Joseph found Jesus in the temple after three days of searching? Relieved, grateful, humbled?
While Mary is the model of perfect grace and virtue, she was a human mom, just like us. She understands our maternal struggles, fear and pain; she’s been there. She wants to walk with us every step of the way on the journey—at home, work, school, church, vacation, Target, etc.—and I take comfort in that.
In my successes and failures as a mother, may the Lord continue to show me the way to Him through the gift of my children, guided by the presence of His mother.