When you look at this picture what do you see? An hour ago, when we had just gotten home for an acquaintances’ and I was in bedtime mindset, I saw my three year old son standing in the water. I was so frustrated as I was ready for them to be snoozing, so I called him in and we had an upset which meant straight to bed for him. After both kids were finally in bed (don’t judge, yes I look forward to them being in bed, but I also look forward to them being awake! 😉 ), I was reading on the couch when I realized what I had missed.
When we got home, he had climbed up the stairs, taken off his boots, and slipped his toes into the water. And he was quiet. Let me repeat that, my three year old was quiet. As I look back, he was standing in the water, hand resting on a chair for balance, and his eyes were watching the birds in the trees. I missed him being present. I missed being present. I have come to think of ‘being present’ as looking for what is important right now and in this moment– and I blew it.
After stepping out of the water, he proceeded to dump it out as any natural child would. So, I went and filled it up again, retrieved my son from bed, and had him step back in the water. I then asked what did he see, he saw a bird 20 yards away in a tree. What did he feel, he felt the chair he was holding on too. What else did he feel, he felt the cool water. I told him I was glad he wanted to stick his toes in the water, but it was also important to listen to Mama. And we talked about it. We went back to his room, I tucked him back in, then returned to my book.
Parenting doesn’t feel natural to me. Being present– looking for the important thing that is happening right now, isn’t easy for me. But I want it to be.
An ice cream cone
A dollar unspent
A moment returned
A kiss ungiven
A word unspoken
A moment of peace
A glass of wine
A kind word spoken
A hope fulfilled
One last wish…
I have a quote that whispers in my ear every couple of months and has done so for the past 5 years. It isn’t that it inspires me or reassures me, but that it
always ALWAYS challenges me to scrutinize my core beliefs. Do you know how irritating that is? I want to know what I believe, I want to be firm in my beliefs, I want to understand. But, the more I think about these words descriptions of what I want, the less I think they apply to my faith.
I think there are very few things that are extremely rock solid when it comes to the Christian faith. 1: God is love. 2: God is extremely complicated. 3: God is unlike anything that I can describe. And if you look at a majority of the denominations within this belief system, I think those are pretty common themes that aren’t spoken of very often. Why? Part of me thinks it reminds us of just how little control we actually have, but another part says it is because we have hard time accepting that which we cannot define. Both are probably applicable.
So when it comes to my faith, I want to be like a tree, planted by the stream, a reference to Psalms 1:3 that has always provided a beautiful picture of what I thought I was called to be. A tree. Firm. Solid. Strong. But the more I gaze at this portrait, the less I look at the tree and the more my eyes turn to the moving water. Each time I step into the Mississippi, it is always the same river… but the water is new each time.
And this, this is where listening is so vital to faith. God is never changing, but never ending. We assume that he reveals himself the same way to the same person without changing, but would it really be changing if he simply showed another facet of his divine nature? Have we figured it out? Have we limited God? Or are we willing to sit and listen. If I plant myself by that moving stream, will I learn more about myself or about the water that tickles my toes? The answer? I think probably both.
Oh! What was the quote?
“The glory of God is man fully alive.” ~St. Irenaeus
Honestly, what does that even mean?
From night’s repose
I steal awake
To words unspoken
Life ever circling,
With eyes shut
And prayer’s unsaid.
At morning’s whisper,
I rise and find
And I the words.
This season of life has been so full of life. To simplify it down to just one emotion, would be unfair to the others. But Lent, I think, needs to be a season of emotion. To contemplate the sorrow, the pain, the joy without embracing those same identities within myself, well, it feels hypocritical.
Many days, it appears as though God is so far away. But one evening as I was reading my devotion, I was introduced to the Examen. It is a reflective prayer style where one looks back on the day and looks for where they experienced the presence of Jesus. This has been a life changing way I look at my own spirituality as it is so easy to look only at right now and exclaim, “God! Where are you?” And while that is completely acceptable, if I but take the time to look… he is here. And he was there.
The next morning as we rushed to church, late as usual, I was holding one child on my hip as the other walked ahead of me and it was completely silent. Not just my children, which is a miracle in and of itself, but the wind, the birds, the leafless trees, the neighborhood dogs. All quiet. And in that moment, I simply said, “You are here, aren’t you?”