Monday, August 12, 2013
A Child Seeks
Sometimes I'm weary of searching for God, of trying to fit him into a human's linear understanding of the universe. Sometimes I find that Christ's words are hard to understand and accept. Sometimes as I prepare to read at Mass, I have to pray for enlightenment of my dull, truant mind. I drag my feet in the good soil often, tired of trying to do good - tired of trying, not the same as actually doing.
I've had a close friend tell me I have a childlike faith. When repeating this to another dear friend, she agreed emphatically with that estimation of my spiritual age. And I know it, and what's more, I thank God for it - except when my childlike faith shrivels into a fetal position.
Times like these call for the personal touch, and if just now I find that I cannot find God in the details, cannot throw a stone into the great pool of faith in things not seen to cause even a little ripple, then I lean on the memory of times when I felt God's presence strongly:
_When Dad used to read the Bible with us on Saturday evenings in my childhood, and it felt like Christ himself was speaking through him, there in the room with us
_The time God answered my prayer, very specific prayer, when I was pregnant with my first daughter
_The many times when I felt the Holy Spirit was delivering a little message to me, encouraging or reproachful, in the words of a friend, stranger or family member
-In picking the minds and hearts of friends and acquaintances to learn what they know of God's grace and mercy
_The lovely, serene moments in various sylvan or riparian environments when all the whispers and sighs of nature seemed to convey Him in every living thing
_In the hospital after my car wreck when I was mourning the man who lost his life when he hit our van with his motorcycle, and I turned away from my husband toward the room and felt that Jesus was standing at the foot of my bed with a smile, pleased that I had forgiven
_When I pray tiny, short prayers throughout the day for people I pass on the street and people I love or for myself, and I gain beautiful snippets of peace
These experiences don't translate well to others, no matter how they shore me up in my dry spells. All I can tell anyone who finds themselves in a fallow field is the same that I tell my children: seek Him, seek Him continually and pray always. If you don't seek, because you are lazy, ambivalent or tired, you won't find Him. You will not discern Him in others, and you will not respond. You will not gain awareness of how he works in your life through the lives of others or of how He desires to use your talents. As a priest once said in an apt homily, we learn the most about God through each other.
I still have my childlike faith. I've been aware of God from the time I was a small child; by His grace, I trust I will never lose that awareness. I know my understanding is imperfect, and I wage war with my constant selfish leanings, indolence and poor understanding. My baggage is not that of experience but that of complacency. I stagger along, praying a little here and there, but I am conscious of the emptiness that awaits me if I don't seek Him. I regret that many already feel that astonishing depression and don't understand there is a peace that Jesus left us for the asking.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.