The Air Transat plane had a bumpy landing into Calgary. This city on the Canadian prairie presents a challenge to any pilot. Winds from the Rockies circulate over the area. I had been traveling for eight hours. I held my neighbor’s hand. She was frightened. The tension eased and many passengers disembarked. The rest of us were continuing our journey onto Vancouver.
I had a toothache over the previous weekend. It was bank holiday Monday so my dentist was not available. I needed attention as I was leaving for Vancouver on Tuesday. I got some penicillin and pain relief from an emergency dentist at the City hospital. I thought that will sort my condition till I get back in a week’s time.
The toothache did not ease on the journey. I doubled the dose of medication. My head was so sore I couldn’t enjoy any movies or music offered. I dozed on and off. I comforted a lady beside me who was traveling on her own. When the flight landed in Calgary I rushed to the bathroom. I was feeling sick. Why did I not stay at home. This long journey is all too much. Why did my son have to get married in Canada so far away from home. Too much a sacrifice.
Then I remembered the scripture,
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
Romans 12:1 NIV
I will make my body a living sacrifice despite the pain. This is true worship to God.
I have suffered other pain over the past two years. I have had heartache. My husband and I had travelled to Vancouver many times over the past ten years, speaking about the love of God to many people. Canadian friends have visited Ireland. I encouraged the connection between ourselves and Canada because of a dream. This dream has tested my heart over the past two years.
My son David moved to live in Toronto two years ago. He and Jacquelyn have a baby girl. I now have a Candian grandchild! The Irish/Canada dream connection was strengthened. I have visited them in Toronto. It is not too far to travel from Ireland. There are good flight connections out of Dubin.
When Isaac finished his studies two years ago he too left for Canada. He had spent some time in an internship as part of his degree. I thought he was going to visit friends there and would return after a few months. He has been working in Vancouver ever since. He developed a relationship with a Canadian girl. Will I see him again? Vancouver is 7000 Kilometres away across the ocean and continent, the end of the earth!
I thought back to Irish mothers whose sons left for America down through the decades because of circumstances, famine, hardship or war. Many left N Ireland during the recent troubles in the seventies. These mothers made sacrifices to let their sons leave and give them an opportunity of a better life. Many did not see their children again.
As a mother I have a choice. I can nurture the grief and mourn over my two sons who live far away. I may not see my grand children growing up. I can remain sad. I don’t want to internalize my pain and develop some sickness as a result of my depressed situation. That’s what happened when I had cancer.
God has healed me of fourth stage cancer and saved me from dying six years ago. I don’t want to get sick again. I choose not to internalize my heartache. I cast my pain upon Jesus.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
Jesus became a Sacrifice on the Cross when he shed his blood and died. He took all my suffering and pain. I share in his suffering as I experience the pain in my heart of my children leaving home. I will not deny the pain and say I am alright. I have gone through the valley of loneliness and sadness. I will offer up this pain of toothache and heartache as a sacrifice. Jesus mother Mary watched as her son was cruelly killed. Her heart was pierced. Jesus spoke to the women as he carried his cross to Calvery. He knew that women would suffer in child bearing and rearing.
A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
Luke 23:27-28 NLT
I awaken in the night with Jetlag. I hear a train’s horn blowing. The sound gets stronger as it passes nearby. It is a familiar sound from my visits to Canada in the past. At day break I hear new sounds. Chuck chuck, whistle whistle, chirrup, chirrup, the sounds of a dawn chorus. These sounds speak to me to welcome me to this different country before anyone else is up. We have been hosted in a beautiful home in the woodland. We have attended barbecues, breakfasts and been well received in Vancouver.
The wedding day has arrived. The bride and bridesmaids are excited. They are getting ready. The bridegroom, our son, has found his bride.
Jesus has healed me. My toothache has gone. My heart is healed.
By the stripes of Jesus I am healed. Isaiah 53.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day in Canada. I will celebrate the day in victory grateful to have lived to see another of my children married and setting off and released into his new future.
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