Learning from a Child


Sitting here in the dark with John Luther on my shoulder.  He is teething and with temperature, so I have the pleasure of his company today. He is resting quietly on my shoulder as I write, but with some need to cling, suddenly awakened by any attempt to distance myself from him.

Of course, if I lay him down, the cry he has learned to use is somewhat like my own.  That cry of alarm that awakens heaven when I am dis-eased by a falsely perceived distance from God.  I then pull him quickly back to my bosom.

John Luther, like his grandfather has his attachments, he likes to have three pacifiers within reach.  Even when asleep he will reach out and cluster them near his mouth.

I have my own pacifiers, certain sins that easily beset me, often reached for in my restless struggles.  I am much better than in my younger days, just as he will one day joke about his then distant neediness.

I am also learning anew the Father’s heart for me.  I feel His heart when mine is touched by John’s infirmities.  Whether an earache or a tooth trying to come through,  I suffer too, at least emotionally. 

He stumbles and bumps himself more often now, for at 11 months John is beginning to walk.  At first he was constantly grasping a finger, holding with all his strength for security.  Then came the day when his parents sent the video. He had broken loose on his own, pushing a toy with wheels somewhat like an older adult with a walker. 

The last couple of days, he has begun to stand up on his own, better enduring the awkwardness, as he gains confidence and stamina. 

He is learning that freedom is more enjoyable than being bound by the need for an adult hand.  Myself, at 67, perhaps still a little clingy, but my Lord, like this first time grandfather is always nearby, patiently awaiting my reach, but hoping for my breakthrough moment.

Will I ever grow up, truly walking “up-right” in the image of God? I certainly aspire to, but brokeness seems a part of my fabric.  My false-self as I read again this a.m.:

“Therefore there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.

The only One Who can teach me to find God is God, Himself, Alone.”*

*Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation.

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