**As you read this think about the 3 year old as yourself and me as the Father**
I babysit these 2 kids on Wednesdays, but today the boy (5 years old) had a check
up so I just had the girl (3 years old) for the afternoon. The weather here has been gorgeous so of course we played outside and she wanted to go to the “jungle” near the house and she was so so very excited to go she kept yelling “COME ON AMBER!!!!!!!!”
Once we got to our jungle she was so excited. Every little thing was an adventure and the pine needles, pine cones, and sticks were all special surprises. She was in awe of the world around us. I stayed by her side and watched her drink in the world around her. Then her toes started to hurt because of the needles (she was barefoot) and she asked me to pick her up, she needed me to carry her for a while.
Next she wanted to go somewhere else (I’m still not sure where we were headed because we never got there). We headed down the side walk and she was riding her bike that she wanted me to push, so I pushed her for a while. Eventually she was pedaling faster than I was keeping up with her so I let go and she kept going, but I stayed close enough that I could grab her bike if she needed me. Eventually she realized I had let go and said “Amber don’t let go”. I told her I wouldn’t let go and grabbed back on. And after that she kept looking back to make sure I was still there and still holding on.
Soon after that we stopped and she wasn’t sure where we were going and said she wanted to go on the road, but I wouldn’t let her because it wasn’t as safe as the sidewalk so we had to stay on the sidewalk. At first, she kept resisting my direction and tried to go to the road at each driveway we passed, but I kept stopping her, preventing her from putting herself in danger.
Then she noticed all the mailboxes and that each mailbox had numbers on it, so we had to stop and read the numbers at each mailbox. We stopped at approximately 12 different boxes, and stayed by her side the whole way, never leaving, though she kept double checking to make sure I was still there. At one of the mailboxes she couldn’t get to the numbers because of rocks around it, so I told her to step on the big rocks because they wouldn’t hurt her feet, and she listened and did that. Then, the next time she came to mailbox with rocks she said to herself “step on the big rocks”. And there was one rock she really so she picked up but it got to heavy for her and so I asked her “do you want me to carry the rock for you?” Eventually took the rock back and carried it herself the rest of the way home..
So why am I recounting my day to you?
As I was adventuring I realized that a lot of what I saw and did for my 3 year old today is what the Father does for us each day. The Father wants every little aspect of our life to be an adventure and He wants to awe us with His greatness and His beauty. He paints the sky for us! He allows us to stumble on waterfalls; he knows how to make our hearts sing! The Father will let go of the bike sometimes, but He will never go so far that He can’t jump in to help us or save us. Sometimes when He let’s go of the bike we don’t even notice, but he stays right there the whole time, even though he’s not pushing or guiding us directly. The Father gives us freedom to take our own path.
But when we want to go in the road – when we want to do something that’s going to harm us, the Father does his best to prevent us from jumping out there. He protects us and catches us before we fall so bad we get hurt. Just like I prevented this little girl from going into the road, the Father does that for us too!
And the mailboxes – I was delighting in this little girl’s joy, wonder, and awe of counting the numbers on the boxes. And just as I was delighting in her, the Father also delights in us!
Lastly the rock, maybe my favorite one. The heaviness of the rock made me think of how we have a chance to share in the suffering of cross, but sometimes the weight of the cross feels too heavy and we just can’t bear it. Jesus helps us carry the weight of the cross while we rest and get stronger. Then, when we’re ready we can say to Jesus “can I carry it again?” And he’ll give it back to us and we can have opportunity to see if we’ve gotten stronger. When she took the rock back, she carried it with grace and with joy, it was still heavy, but she was ready for it now!
This weekend my heart was aching and longing to be loved and to be satisfied, but nothing good satiate my thirst. And it was so hard to bear this emptiness. So in mass on Sunday I offered it to the Lord, but the suffering persisted. And this morning as I sat with our Lord, He revealed to me how times where we don’t feel like showing up, but choose to show up to prayer anyway, times when we ache and long, and keep seeking to be satisfied in the Lord, despite not feeling fulfilled are times when we are growing, and those are times for us to grow in the perfection of love, to grow in holiness.
But the thing is the Father is always there. He is loving us so fervently and so faithfully! Thanks be to God for all his goodness to us!