Parenting has changed me in so many ways, and more than one of them has involved a deep transformation of my faith. It would probably take an entire blogging series to unpack what I mean in that sentence, so I am not going to try here. The one pseudo-explanation I will offer is this totally inadequate (though complicated) declaration: It is really hard to teach someone about God when the person you are trying to teach is stuck very solidly in the concrete thinking phase of intellectual development, while one’s own faith development has taken a more than thirty year and highly convoluted journey through rather fundamentalist thinking that nearly killed it, and left it simultaneously disgusted by self-satisfied certainty and still yearning for its comfort.
And so, it has been like the first breath of air inhaled by lungs released from some heavy weight, to realize that my struggling words are not the primary vehicle by which I am teaching my children, and particularly not my son (who is far less caught in his head than either me or his big sister). The relationship between words and verifiable truth is rather inconsequential to him. Far more important is the joy of the moment, especially if that moment involves connection.
As it turns out. I’m actually learning a lot about God from my son.
Finding God Playing With My Son.
If feelings could in color show
your face would paint a bright rainbow.
No mask of dim restraint you wear
and eyes’ communing thus impair.
No, as I gaze I see your soul
as though cavorting on a stroll
across the smooth and mobile skin
that God saw fit to dress you in.
And those communicating eyes
invite me to abandon lies —
of competence, or ennui —
that push others away from me.
Your smile pulls me, draws me in
where love is full, divisions thin,
to join in work where you employ
all efforts bent on building joy.
And when I step into that world
I find the Source, who has unfurled
a shining lens to cast out strife,
refract the light of Love in… life.
I’ve sometimes struggled recently
with my lack of certainty.
I’ve chafed at mystery and doubt
I’ve called for Truth to just come out
To show a face that I can know;
To answer questions here below;
To save me from the sting of words
in claims of Truth I find absurd.
But now I see, God made the choice
to speak in a sweet, giggling voice,
that in the QUESTIONS finds delight
more real than knowing what is right.
God is the one who here invites —
along with my pretending knight —
to know Truth as a little child,
imagination running wild.
There’s freedom in the world of play
that teaches me to live TODAY,
and in that living, to KNOW Love
that flows in laughter from Above.