So I am sitting outside the wall of that great city – you know my Nineveh – my mother. Sitting and praying and it strikes me (remember the scorching sun, the shade leaving and Jonah still sitting) God says to me, you feel sorry for yourself and your childhood but your mom is living in a dark place too – shouldn’t I feel sorry for her? And that’s when it strikes me… maybe I am my Mother’s Nineveh.
This isn’t really what I was planning on, like Jonah I was sitting, unlike Jonah I was praying, praying for God to bless her and to soften my heart and I was waiting to see if anything would happen to my mom, and yes to me, and then this, this “scorching” this “what if”, what if I am the very thing to her, that she is to me?
My road here to this place of daughter questioning her relationship with mother is long and twisted, much like I imagine the roads to be inside that great city of Nineveh, the city Jonah went to visit against his will, the city that took 3 long days to travel through. And I’m tired and scared. There are lots of messes here, potholes so big and deep almost too deep or at least that’s what it feels like. Deep with hurt, resentment, jealousy, and lies – remember the wickedness, and I, like Jonah, don’t want to go there but then I have this picture in my head, me on one side of this great wall and her on the other – both of us just sitting. Waiting, with hard hearts.
What if I am my Mother’s Nineveh? What if over time – of me protecting myself with that stone by stone barricade she was doing the same. What if there is something too painful, too much for her to deal with when it comes to me. I was by no means the perfect kid, there is stuff that I did and even things that I didn’t do that I know were hurtful. Or what if she just can’t love me because she can’t love me like I need to be loved? What if I have placed conditions on her? What if in my building of the wall around my heart, the going in the opposite direction I have caused her to go in the other direction? Pushed her there.
Will I have to go through those roads, those twisted messed up full of pothole roads to get to her and what will I find there? Will my heart be broken, broken with remorse and sorrow for the pain I caused or will it be broken free from all the hurt and anger and fear while hers is still captive or will my heart still be hard and hers free? Will I find that for me everything has changed but for her nothing has? And how am I with that? If my heart is soft and ready to love her, no conditions attached and hers is not ready or what if her heart is the same, the same as it always has been and that still she is ready to love me the only way she knows how to love. Can I stand strong or better yet can I sit beside her confident in the knowledge that my heavenly Father loves me and like Jonah can I say I know that my salvation comes from the Lord alone and that this is enough to help me navigate these roads within my Nineveh? What did Jonah do, where did he go when the Lord asked him, “Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”