Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Finding God Playing With My Son

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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.

Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

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