In my complicated life, I find it amusing that God often reminds me of His eternal truths by demonstrating them through my children. As intellectual as I might like to think I am, I have probably learned more about the love of God for his people by watching my children play, learn and live in this family of ours.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” ~Matthew 19:14
A few months ago, we had an episode after Mass. It was a summer morning and our family was standing outside St. Mary’s, visiting like we always do. My husband and I chatting with friends, our little kids climbing like crazy monkeys on the handicap ramp, our son searching for coins dropped beneath the parking meters the night before by late night bar-hoppers, and our oldest daughter quietly chatting with friends, being sure to look pretty in the process. Finally, it was time to leave. Our littlest girl had brought her favorite pink glittery bouncy ball and was bouncing it happily along as we walked toward the curb to cross the street to our car. She gave it a big bounce, and off it went – off the curb and into the street. And off went my girl after it. “My BALL!” she yelled.
Even though St. Mary’s resides at the outer edge of Aggieland’s Northgate Bar district, the streets on a Sunday morning are usually pretty quiet. Not today. As my daughter reached the edge of the curb, ready to jump into the road after her most prized possession, a large white pickup truck blasting country music was barreling down the road, just a quarter of a block away.
And that’s when the slow motion began.
I heard the gasps of my friends around me. I turned to see the large, loud truck looming. A little, precious blonde head so very close, making its way with arms outstretched to get her pink glittery ball, unaware of any danger. And, most thankfully, I saw my husband’s steady body bend down, grab our child by the arm and swing her around, off the edge of the road and into safety. The ball bounced, bounced and came to rest in the dusty gutter as the truck passed.
Everything got quiet. My friends behind me let out a breath and whispered, “Wow, that was close!” My older children looked at me with wide eyes and then at Dad, calmly carrying a now wailing child to the car. They slowly followed after. They knew what had almost happened.
But my child? She was furious. “Daddy had scared her! He pulled her arm! Her ball got dirty!”, she yelled with big hot tears rolling down her cheeks. My husband looked at me, raised his eyebrows and kissed her on the top of her head.
We were thankful that all was well, and went on with our Sunday.
But, a month or so afterward I was complaining to God about something or other, thinking of how frustrating it is that things just don’t seem to work out the way we want. I thought again of that incident in front of St. Mary’s.
And I realized how very often I can be just like my little four year old.
How often do we have that nice glittery something that we treasure so much that we are willing to do just about anything to keep it? How often are we so focused on that one precious idea or plan that we are oblivious to the looming danger coming down the road? How often do we almost step off that curb, throwing ourselves into who knows what kind of hurt and destruction, chasing after something we think is so worth it, but are quickly jerked away by a heavenly Father? Our breath seizes in our chests. We are startled. We are no longer going in the direction we thought we were going. It might even hurt, that quick pulling around and away from danger. We’re angry. That beautiful, glittering thing was IMPORTANT to us! It might even be a good thing, in and of itself, like a pretty pink glittery ball. What does He think He’s doing, yanking us away so fast that we didn’t even have a chance to think?
How often does our heavenly Father carry us away, squirming in His arms, red-faced and yelling, while He kisses us on the top of our head, looks over to our heavenly brothers and sisters and smiles as they sigh in relief. We have avoided some wrong path, He has reset us on the right path, and He is glad. How often are we completely unaware. How often?
“At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
Jesus, let us TRUST in YOU. Let us trust that You have our good at heart! You know what is beneficial to our souls even when, to our small selves, life sometimes seems so hard, painful and just unfair. Let us be faithful, that even in the midst of pain and confusion, You have us securely in Your arms and love us with Your very life. Amen.
“We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.” – St. Francis de Sales
“In you our fathers trusted; they trusted and you rescued them. To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.” Psalm 22:5-6