The Missing Years

I went to mass not once but twice yesterday. Twice!
I took the girls at 11 in the morning without Steve because he had to work and I was unsure that his schedule would fit church in.
When he called ready to go at 4 pm, I volunteered to go with him.

This is only noteworthy to anyone out there keeping score--for people who knew that for many years I had quit going to church.
I had somehow convinced myself of the improbability of God.
Depression can do that to you.
Anyhow,  I am back.
However, that journey to get from there to here is not what I am going to post about today.
I want to explore an idea that came to me during mass yesterday.

Yesterday's Gospel was about Jesus' being baptized by John in the Jordan River.
The priest (we code named: baby face) mentioned that there is no account of Jesus' life from the time he was 13 until his baptism at about age 30.
He called it the missing years.
I never pondered this until yesterday.

We only know of Jesus as an infant in a manger--
then we jump to Jesus as a 12 year old, spreading his tween wings, and without the permission of his parents, breaking free from the family's annual trip to Jerusalem (from Nazareth) to stay and shoot the breeze with the church elders.
(When I was young, my focus when it came to this story was on the somewhat cool factor of this whiz kid being able to hold court with grown ups.)

However, now that I am a mother--I suddenly recognize the extreme difficulty and anguish Mary must have experienced, not only when she first realized he was missing but also when she finds him, utterly oblivious to their worry.
Can you imagine how furious she must have been?

It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps the reason that 18 years of Jesus' life were undocumented was because Joseph and Mary were extremely close lipped about Jesus' teenage years.
They must have closed ranks around Jesus because they were protecting him from critics who may have used Jesus' teenage years as ammo against his ministry.
After all, He was also still human.
Could it be that Jesus challenged them on a daily basis?
Who knows what miracles he performed to serve his teenage whims.
(Clearly Mary was made aware of his abilities because many years later at the wedding in Cana, she somehow "just informs" Jesus that the wine has run out--thereby compelling Jesus to perform his first public miracle)

Even if, let's assume that Jesus maintained his obedience and respect for elders most of the time--
Joseph and Mary must have had to learn quickly how to not take Jesus' correction personally, to not assume to know,  to not swear at him when they got frustrated and to just do their very best to be the best parents they could be.

I mean no irreverence in this post.
I write it because I am suddenly realizing that all this parenting business is normal.
I take comfort in the idea that perhaps even Jesus tested His earthly parents' patience and also in the knowledge that perhaps Mary gets it.

(I wonder if Joseph ever threatened Jesus with bodily harm)