Even though it’s April already (how did that happen?!?!) I wanted to write one more entry geared toward belief as we head toward the triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. I wanted to share some ways that having a baby has changed the way I’ve started to think about my relationship with God. There are a lot of parent/child comparisons in the Bible, referring to God as a heavenly father and I don’t think I was ever really comfortable with them and never really understood them until I had my own child and felt the immense love I do now,
the willing sacrifices every day with no expectation that my son “deserve” or “earn” them.
I talked a bit in an earlier post about how having a baby has helped me with the Jesuit idea of detachment. Here are a few other ways that having a baby has helped me reconsider some ideas in my faith.
1. I now have even more respect, admiration and awe for Mother Mary. I especially thought about this around Christmas when in the story of the nativity all I could think of was how grumpy I was at the end of my pregnancy living with modern conveniences and getting where I needed to go in an air conditioned car, then imagining how uncomfortable it must have been to be that pregnant and riding on a donkey for miles and miles and hours and hours. Not to mention her birthing conditions… oy. But even more than pregnant Mary, I am in awe of Mary as mother.I think about how hard it is to watch my son in pain that is in no way life threatening. The misery of teething or ear infections makes me so sad for him and breaks my heart to hear him cry. I know mothers who have had to watch their children go into surgery or have had to watch their children die, either very young or as adults but still before their parents. I never understood what the depth of that pain could possibly be until I had a baby, and now I wonder how it is possible for any of us to reflect on the events of Good Friday without weeping. Even if you don’t believe the religious part.. in fact MORESO then because then there’s no amazing, miraculous, and oh so joyful ending right? Just a mother bereft of her child in an awful, painful way.
2.I get daily emails with Bible readings and reflections. Today’s focused on this verse regarding Holy Thursday and the last supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples:
Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.”
I can’t tell you how much dealing with my precocious 10 month old makes me think about this verse and makes me wonder how much I act like a child in god’s eyes. The first example of this is when it comes to not letting my son explore things that are dangerous. He LOVES trying to discover every little piece of our house and everything inside it. He learns so much every day, but sometimes we have to pull him back and keep him from exploring certain aspects- things that he could choke on or that could electrocute him for example. He usually cries or tries to go right back there, or gets extremely frustrated. And as I watch this cycle of rushing toward danger and me pulling him back and him getting mad, all I can think of is how much I must do this in my spiritual life. I rush after things that are bad for me, that could cause me a world of pain, and then I get frustrated when I’m told not to do so or stopped in some way. I don’t understand. I will someday.
3. Along this same line of not understanding or seeing things how God sees it in this parent child relationship- I often have trouble with patience in my life. I want the answers or the opportunities to come together NOW!
This impatience could be personified by how my son gets when he is hungry. In fact, he gets so impatient that he would rather cling to his spoon, trying to repeatedly put it in his mouth with no food in it than let me take it from him to put more food on it. I can’t help but laugh at his impatience and his passion for food, but in his rush to get in the next bite, he only ends up making himself more frustrated. I can’t tell you how incredibly applicable that is to my life, especially recently. It’s this very behavior that I have been struggling with all Lent and that very lack of patience that has me occasionally feeling a bit down about the lack of “progress” that I sometimes still expect to happen overnight.
There are many other ways becoming a mother has been working on my spiritual life and practices. I figured three big ones for the three big days left of Lent is a good way to focus this particular post. I’m sure my baby will be teaching me many more important lessons for me to expound on in future posts. Have a blessed Holy Week and a very happy Easter! As we move into April, the word I have chosen for this month is BLOOM. I know the saying is April showers bring May flowers, so maybe I should have waited a month, but in AZ we don’t really get April showers and spring is fleeting here before the summer heat takes over. Plus, the Easter season is a great time to talk about some of the awesome things bloom implies: flourishing, glowing with warmth, healthy vigor, and of course the gorgeous beauty of the natural world.