I’m a big fan of the CBS television series Young Sheldon. In every episode, two well-meaning parents in East Texas struggle to raise their intellectually gifted and socially awkward son. They are often unsettled by the reality that Sheldon understands things they never will. In the end, their only recourse is to love and guide him as best as they can.
We don’t know if young Jesus was socially awkward, but on that day in the temple, Mary and Joseph must have felt once again how ill-equipped they were to raise the Son of God. He knew more than they ever would. He was destined to live a life that others wouldn’t understand, that would make him stand out and stand apart from everyone else. Their only recourse was to love and guide him as best they could.
All of us, if we haven’t already, will find ourselves in a conversation or a relationship with someone we don’t fully understand. We will be tempted to give up and walk away because the task of relating is too difficult and requires too much of us.
On that day, it will be good to remember that the person before us is a child of God who simply longs to be loved. They only need us to do the best we can.
When was a time that you gave up and walked away? What do you wish you had done differently?
Jesus, every day I encounter someone who just needs me to try a little harder to understand them. In those moments, may I see your face in theirs. Amen.