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Finally Grown Up

As a little girl, saying my prayers and going to church and Sunday school, I loved Jesus, “meek and mild,” who loved me. Every night, kneeling by my bed as Nanny listened, I would say, “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon this little child. Pity my simplicity, suffer me to come to thee. I’m sorry for all the naughty things I’ve done today. Please make me a good girl tomorrow. For Christ’s sake, Amen,” and then I would leap into bed.

For me this was about my good father, the one who loved me, called Jesus. He was important to me, and I now understand why. Fathers didn’t come into the nursery in those days, so I simply didn’t have a relationship with my actual father. The fact that Jesus was above the bright blue sky was a little confusing, but then, so were most things they tried to teach me.

At last, a real, live lover came along in the form of a husband, and my frozen need* got transferred to him. It wasn’t until he died and I was able to grieve fully for him that I suddenly found that I was no longer grieving for him but for my father. Having my early need for my father partially filled by Jesus and then my husband, I hadn’t fully grown up.

I now realise that I am a fully grown-up, independent human being, free to form close relationships all over the place. Freedom at last! I think this is what Jesus meant by leaving us. He meant to set us free—not from our sins but from our frozen needs, which prevent us from growing up and taking charge of our lives. He had attracted followers, and needed to go in order for them to grow up.

Jean Turner
Darlington, County Durham, England


* Frozen need is a term used in RC for a hurt that results when a rational need is not met in childhood. The hurt compels the person to keep trying to fill the need in the present, but the frozen need cannot be filled; it can only be discharged.


Last modified: 2020-07-01 09:06:00+00