Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ever Children

Just the other day, I was having a phone conversation with my sister.  Our discussion was being constantly interrupted, as her toddler daughter was getting into all sorts of things.  Her little two-year-old is bright as can be, knows the rules, but sometimes ignores them.  Our conversation continued but as it being peppered with repeated cautions, patient sighs, and a few tears, it occurred to me that, in some ways, we are all like children.  I listened as my sister patiently warned her daughter that it was dangerous to climb the stairs, and the little girl's protests as her mother pulled her away from the treacherous, yet tempting steps.  I offered to end the call and let my sister tend to her daughter, but she responded in that cool tone of a loving parent, "No, that's OK.  She's just getting into things she knows she shouldn't get into."  Shortly after that I heard, "Now you know you're not supposed to get into Mama's make-up!"  Realizing that she was found out, my niece hid behind a chair.  My sister couldn't help but chuckle and offer, "I can see your shadow!" 

Shortly thereafter, I let my sister go and focus on her daughter.  However, it struck me how childlike we all can be.  How many times have we been cautioned by those who love us?  We all have moments when we do not make the best decisions--from making a poor judgment call to engaging in self-destructive behavior, or allowing ourselves to get caught up with those who are a bad influence.  Have you ever heard the strong, but quiet voice of the Spirit within your soul say, "My dear daughter, you don't want to do that.  You're only going to get hurt!"  The Lord loves us and gave us free will, but there are times when He will pull us away from the stairs when we need His protection most.  Sometimes this prompts us to shed tears, as we convince ourselves that whatever we wanted to do could only have been wonderful, if we had been given the opportunity to take one more step.  He knows better, and although we may shed tears, get frustrated, and, from time to time, throw hissy fits and ignore our Father's cautionary movements in our hearts, He still loves us...and we still love Him. 

And after being caught doing something we know is wrong, how many of us try to hide?  We hide from our mistake, we hide from our embarrassment and humiliation--ashamed of ourselves, we hide from the Father.  We put off the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation.  Rather than swallow our pride and reconcile ourselves with the Father, we walk--or perhaps even run--in the opposite direction, unable to face He who loves us so much, worried that we have yet again disappointed Him and are unworthy of His mercy. 

We are indeed unworthy of His mercy, but He gives it to us freely anyway.  Let us always remember that we are His sons and daughters, and His love for us knows no bounds.  He is Love.  Perfect, unconditional, forgiving Love.  So let us humble ourselves and remember that His ways are not our ways.  Our minds cannot fathom the greatness, glory, or plans of our Father, but we must try always to trust Him.  And even when we experience bouts of frustration and anger with our lives, let us not act like petulant children.  Rather, let us remember that the Lord truly loves us and only wants what is best for us.  May we lovingly trust Him and offer Him our sufferings, appreciation, and praise!  He will allow us to make our stubborn, poor decisions so that we may glean something from them, but, like any loving parent, He will never abandon.  He will be there to patiently, lovingly caution us and, when we hide from Him (and we inevitably will), he might chuckle and say, "I can see your shadow!"

"Lord, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.  You sift through my travels and my rest; with all my ways you are familiar.  Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all.  Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, far too lofty for me to reach.  Where can I go from your spirit?  From your presence, where can I flee?  If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, there you are.  If I take the wings of dawn and dwell beyond the sea, Even there your hand guides me, your right hand holds me fast.  If I say, "Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light"--Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day.  Darkness and light are but one."  Psalm 139:1b-12

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