I often think about the brave souls who left everything that they knew and loved to come to the wild, savage lands of North America to seek freedom and prosperity.
Actually, no I don’t.
I really only think about them when I am teaching my fifth graders about the Separatists who left England and went first to Amsterdam and then here to the “New World” seeking the freedom to practice their own personal version of Christianity.
But I have been thinking of them a lot in the past two weeks, even though I won’t be teaching about them for another month.
You see, when young William Bradford and his wife Dorothy left Amsterdam to set sail on the Mayflower, they had to make a difficult choice. They left behind them not only the safety and security of a major European city, and every modern amenity then known to mankind, they also left behind their three year old son, John, who was felt to be too fragile to make the dangerous journey.
Let me repeat that.
Dorothy Bradford (I am leaving William out this time: he’s only the Dad! He probably wasn’t dissolving in tears every ten seconds at the mere thought of his little boy.) Dorothy Bradford had to get on a wooden ship, sail off across the raging Atlantic ocean to find someplace reasonably safe to settle, all while leaving her THREE YEAR OLD BABY behind her.
So why have I been thinking about poor Dorothy, and her tiny baby boy, left crying for his Mamma?
Because Tim went back to college, that’s why!
I am facing exactly the same fears and griefs.
So, my son isn’t three (he’s twenty). And he isn’t across the ocean (he’s two hours away by car). But both Dorothy Bradford and I have suffered the pangs of a Mother who is completely unable to contact her son, to reassure herself of his well being, to express her love and her support and her yearning to be near him once again.
Dorothy was out of touch with her son because he was 3, 000 miles away. A letter to him would have taken a minimum of sixth months to get to its destination. Plus, you know, he couldn’t read.
I am out of touch with my son because he absolutely refuses to read his email. He doesn’t acknowledge his Facebook messages from me, and he doesn’t want me to call or text because he is using a Trac phone and its wicked expensive.
So, Dorothy Bradford, poor sad soul that she was would completely understand my mood on this windy Saturday afternoon, as I watch weather reports of possible TORNADOES passing through my son’s college town. Like her, I am wracked with worry about my boy.
Unlike Dorothy, I won’t be throwing myself overboard to drown in the icy seas. Instead, I may just jump in the car and drive out there so I can wring his little neck.