Dr. Jamie Jenkins: Parenting: A Roller Coaster of Joy and Sorrow

Parenting can be a Roller Coaster of Joy and Sorrow

It is hard to realize but this weekend it will be 27 years.


My wife was pregnant with our third child. When I came home on that Friday afternoon, she was experiencing labor pains, so off to the hospital we went. After an examination, the doctor said it was a little early. He told us to go have dinner and he would probably see us later that night.


Lena and I along with our two children, ages 8  and 12, followed the doctor’s instructions. We went to Folks, one of the finest restaurants in town at that time, and had dinner. Later that night we all returned to the birthing center and shortly after midnight on March 5, 1983 Jonas was born.


In four days we will celebrate the birth of that third child. The 8 pound, 1 ounce boy has grown into a handsome (he doesn’t like for me to say that) and fine young man with a gentle spirit. His brother and sister now live in Japan and California but he is still here in Georgia. He jokes (at least I think he is joking) that his siblings have left him to take care of two senile old parents.


Last week I was in the Holy Land. We visited the Church of the Annunciation and Mary’s Well in Nazareth. We remembered that this was where the angel told Mary that she would have a child who would be called Emmanuel. I thought again about the mixed emotions of this young woman and her fiancé, Joseph, when they heard that news.


We traveled to Bethlehem and went into the cave under the Church of the Nativity where Jesus was born. This was not the most desirable setting for the birth of a baby but it must have been a joyous occasion. Later we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Gordon’s Calvary, two sites that could have been where Mary and Joseph’s son died.


Jesus lived for thirty-three years. But he was still Mary and Joseph’s child  Children never get too old for parents to stop being parents. Anyone with children knows the roller coaster of joy and sorrow that Mary and Joseph must have experienced as their baby boy matured. At times their hearts must have almost burst with gladness and pride as their boy became an adult. I have no doubt that there were moments of disappointment and sadness. Children provide many highs and lows to their parents. That does not change as they age.


Many parents have experienced the death of a child and I can only imagine the depth of that pain. As we visited the sacred sites in Israel I realized could not know the parent's horror of watching Jesus’ execution at Calvary. I could not grasp the grief after his death.


As a parent I have known the exhilaration of seeing your child struggle and come out victorious. On the last day of our pilgrimage we visited the Garden Tomb. It was not my first time, but each time I gain a deeper understanding of Mary's exuberant joy when she found the tomb empty. Jesus had won the ultimate victory. He had defeated death.


Yesterday was the second Sunday of Lent. As we move through this season of self-examination, let us remember God’s great love for us in sending His Son and examine our lives and our relationship with Christ. Prepare for the celebration of the good news that Christ the Lord is risen!


Jamie Jenkins

[Taken with permission from the Monday Morning in North Georgia newsletter of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, March 1, 2010]