My wife and daughter are on a college preparation visit all weekend. As a result I am home alone with the boys. Big brother has baseball and buddies so I have seen little of him, most of it in those brief moments shuttling him to and from practice or church youth group. Baby boy, on the other hand, has been a constant companion. At 21 months he is decidedly more dependent upon me for everything. He eats a lot and he produces a great deal of waste. It is quite a time for daddy and his little boy.
Baby's godfather has been along for the ride. His wife is also out of town preparing for their daughter's wedding next weekend; he will join them midweek. In the meantime he and I have announced we are filming our own movie: "Two Men, No Wives, and a Baby." As I am pretty engaged with my little fellow when I am home, this time is not dramatically different for me with one glaring exception. On Saturday, when I left for work, baby was in tow. No one home to watch him. On a typical Saturday we meet at 3:00 to pray, study and discuss the healing ministry. Saturday at 5:00 we have our vigil mass which includes a component of healing prayer and annointing. It is truly one of the most focused and prayerful times of my week. My plan was to bring the baby with me so that we could do an extended time of prayer with and for him. [He has some challenges] My only concern was how he would react to a group of adults laying hands on him, or trying to!
As we drove to church he quietly sat in his car seat; drifting off to sleep as I pulled into the parking space. I fully expected the blast of cool air would waken him as I took him from the car. It was not what happened. Instead he remained sound asleep. At our meeting we moved to the prayer period and had an extended time of praise and thanks for the healing power of God let loose in his small body. Not all of the healing is manifest yet, but we trust him to God and look toward the day. At any rate, I am confident that God hears our cries. My first and most frequent prayer, "Lord make him holy," will not go unheeded.
At the end of our time we sought a vision. This is a prayer exercise which we do periodically. I learned of it at a conference years ago and it is remarkable. We did a variation of it, and basically it is a time of quiet resting in the Lord and opening ourselves to any word or image which he wants to provide. Sometimes it is mysterious, sometimes obvious, always it is a gift. In general, I am not prone to such things. My mind is more intuitive than sensate so visual images are less common for me. However, as I sat with my baby, now awake but quiet and stirring minimally, a "vision" of sorts came to me. I share it here for your own reflection.
I am a baby in God's arms. Like my toddler aged son, I have a mind of my own. I think, feel, desire and try to impact my environment. I beseech my Heavenly Father even as my baby son seeks to control me. Like the baby, I get grumpy and frustrated when my will is not done. Like my baby I think I know what I want and I trust that I know best. Like my baby, I am way lower in function than my Father. That was the insight. God has said in the Scriptures a number of times that we are not able to grasp His ways. He is a mystery. In Isaiah's words (paraphrased) "As high as the heavens are above the earth so far are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts." We all know it, we just don't factor it in when we ask those (devastating!! insightful!!) critical questions that begin with "If...why?" If God is good, why does He let bad things happen, etc.
Seeing my baby in my arms, struggling to have his way, confused and frustrated when his father does not do what he wants his father to do, I am seeing myself. I do not know or understand near enough to question God. My intelligence is insufficient. And Saturday that came clearer for me. It is time to trust more and love more, it is time to be humble and acknowledge my limitations. Such things are scarey, but made less so knowing I am in the arms of The Father, the God of Jesus Christ. The Creator Who loves me (and YOU!) and Who is always at work making this work out to the best.
It was a good vision. I hope it shapes me in days ahead.