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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: By the river Nile

Vieraskieliset / In-english
15.11.2022 7.00

Juttua muokattu:

7.10. 10:44

Text: Ma­ti­as Lah­ti

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

One sum­mer day, dri­ving home from work, I lis­te­ned to the sum­mer­ti­me ser­vi­ce ra­dio. The spe­a­ker was tal­king about Mo­ses’ birth. As I was lis­te­ning, the story of Mo­ses came ali­ve in my mind and ac­qui­red con­no­ta­ti­ons that I had not pre­vi­ous­ly at­tac­hed to it.

Bib­le sto­ries are of­ten simp­le and low-key. Things are not exp­lai­ned in de­tail. Rat­her, there is space for the re­a­der to fill in the gaps in their own mind while re­a­ding the con­ci­se text. The po­wer of the sto­ries part­ly lies in this: there are mul­tip­le sur­fa­ces where dif­fe­rent re­a­ders can see their own ref­lec­ti­ons. This time, the story of Mo­ses in my mind see­med to ref­lect the si­tu­a­ti­on of pa­rents who are done with their role as conc­re­te gui­des of their child and need to le­a­ve him or her flo­a­ting in the bound­less Nile, which is a sym­bol of the wide world.

Mo­ses’ birth was pro­bab­ly an event tin­ged with fear. His mot­her was awa­re of the Pha­ra­oh’s or­der to have all new­born baby boys kil­led, and she may have been af­raid even of get­ting preg­nant. And when she found she was preg­nant, she had the new fear of the baby being a boy. Her joy at the birth of a new baby must have been ming­led with im­men­se pain. At the very mo­ment the new­born cried out for the first time, he was pre­des­ti­ned to die.

It is dif­fi­cult even to ima­gi­ne the at­mosp­he­re in the fa­mi­ly of baby Mo­ses. The pa­rents had to go about their dai­ly cho­res and take care of the baby, but they si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly had to keep the baby’s exis­ten­ce sec­ret. It must have been har­ro­wing to wake up in the mor­ning with the pre­mo­ni­ti­on that this might be the day when the baby would be wrenc­hed from his mot­her’s arms and thrown in­to the ri­ver to drown.

Over the weeks, Mo­ses’ mot­her con­si­de­red dif­fe­rent al­ter­na­ti­ves. Would it be bet­ter just to give up, stop hi­ding the baby and ac­cept the ine­vi­tab­le loss that she would have to ex­pe­rien­ce any­way? The pres­su­re and con­fu­si­on in her mind moun­ted, un­til she had to do so­met­hing. She had come to a dead end, and as her last des­pe­ra­te ac­ti­on, she made a reed bas­ket wa­terp­roof, pla­ced her baby in­to the bas­ket and left him af­lo­at in the Nile, which was one ki­lo­me­ter wide. She left one of her daugh­ters to watch what would hap­pen. This ges­tu­re is sym­bo­lic: while she phy­si­cal­ly left her baby, her he­art re­mai­ned watc­hing for him in the ri­ver.

If ever any­bo­dy pra­yed fer­vent­ly, Mo­ses’ mot­her did. She knew her son could on­ly be sa­ved by a mi­rac­le of God. She was gui­ded by faith and saw hope even in a si­tu­a­ti­on where there see­med to be no hope left. Over­co­me by des­pair she still con­ti­nu­ed to hope, and a mi­rac­le hap­pe­ned: she was soon hol­ding her baby again.

Few pa­rents need to face such a cruel and conc­re­te pros­pect of lo­sing their child. But pa­rent­hood al­wa­ys inc­lu­des wor­ry and so­me­ti­mes down­right ago­ny for the fu­tu­re of our child­ren. All child­ren have their own li­ves and they make their own choi­ces, which may be dif­fe­rent from those their pa­rents have en­vi­si­o­ned for them.

Pa­ren­ting is chal­len­ging: the pa­rents may be di­sap­poin­ted with a child, but that di­sap­point­ment should not be chan­ne­led in­to ag­g­res­si­on, which would be per­cei­ved as re­jec­ti­on by the child. We need to let our child­ren make their own mis­ta­kes. Child­ren need the love and pro­tec­ti­on of their pa­rents loo­ming at the backg­round for a long time, re­gard­less of their li­fes­ty­le choi­ces. Pa­rents must to­le­ra­te the pain they feel when the reed bas­ket flo­ats away on the wa­ves and wa­ter be­gins to seep in­to the bas­ket.

There is time to rear a child and time to stop re­a­ring. We can­not live the life for our child­ren. When there is not­hing left for us to do, we can, and we must, do what Mo­ses’ mot­her did: let go of our child­ren and set them free in­to the ri­ver Nile, so that they can live their own life out­si­de their child­hood home. But we must keep them in our he­arts. Even when the cur­rents take a child a long way from home, faith inst­ructs us who re­mai­ned on the shore to watch out for them, to hope, to pray and to love. We may yet see a mi­rac­le.


Jeesus sanoi: ”Eivät terveet tarvitse parantajaa, vaan sairaat. Menkää ja tutkikaa, mitä tämä tarkoittaa: ’Armahtavaisuutta minä tahdon, en uhrimenoja.’” Matt. 9:12–13

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