Friday, July 15, 2011

The Wisdom to Follow Through

This evening I plopped our 9 month old E.G. into the bathtub prior to bedtime in order to get him cleaned up after a very messy dinner. Regardless of the time, bath time is always playtime for him. He crawls toward toys, pulls up on the side of the tub, grabs at the faucet, the usual infant exploration. It is always a new adventure for him and a new adventure for me as I try to keep him as safe as I can.

While I know he doesn't understand everything that I say to him in regards to safety, my hope is that he will begin to learn. I want to impart some of the knowledge that I have with him; share my experiences so that he might learn what to do and what not to do; be prepared to shine God's light in this darkened world that sells false promises and trinkets for your soul. With all of these grand images in mind, the awesomeness and wealth of information that the Lord has charged me to share in order to form my son, I was humbled this evening by a lesson that my son was charged to share with me.

After his bath was completed, I opened the drain to allow the tub to empty. E.G. was splashing away, seemingly oblivious to the slowly depleting water supply. As he was moving his hands down to splash the water, the drain got the better of him and his hands landed on the tub- no more water to sprinkle back on his face. Instead of reacting with a cry or startle or usual response of bewilderment and frustration, he simply moved his hands over and found water to splash. This pattern continued (splash, tub, splash, tub) until the drain finally commanded its victory and there was no more water for E.G.'s game to continue. After one last go for a splash, E.G. looked up at me and was ready to get out of the tub. No cry, no whine, simple satisfaction with the end of his game.

Seeing this got me thinking: How often do I give all of myself to a decision until the very end, even if it appears that there will be no reward for me? I have to admit, I am a pretty self-centered being. If I feel like I have done something wrong, might embarrass myself, or might fail at something, I usually stop dead in my tracks and don't continue on with the project. There have been many things that have been left by the wayside that could easily have been completed if only I'd chosen to do so. Would these completed tasks have changed the world? Probably not, but they would've changed me; even if only a little. For even in the smallest change, character is developed, lessons are learned, and responsibilities are completed.

Why then, do I fear failure? For what is truly ironic is that by not completing the tasks before me, I am failing. If I followed it until the end, even if the ending was not as I anticipated, it is still an ending and thus a win. Why must it be the big, the grandiose, the award winning accomplishment in order for me to complete some things? In truth, I demand more of the situations than is necessary. I have a feeling of entitlement that is undeserved: If I am to do it, it must be amazing and must only bring the utmost satisfaction. I become so laser-visioned on what I will look like, how I will be perceived, that I lose sight of the true meaning behind things. I forget that my actions are not for my glory, but for God's. And then I see my son, the beautiful gift given to Maic and me by God. I see his satisfaction, total, complete; nothing more; nothing less. His task is complete. It is good. When was the last time I had that sense of completeness and true, deep, calming joy and peace after I did something? The answer- when I completed God's task.

While E.G.'s game wasn't a breathtaking event that would transform the lives of millions, it was his dedication, his depth of inquiry/sense of wonder that was so incredible. I can only hope this reminder will stay with me so that I may continue to be humbled, amazed, and sensitive to the world, lessons, and responsibilities that God has placed before me and for the wisdom to follow through.

1 comment:

  1. It is amazing how our children can teach us so much if we just stopped, watched and listened. I find that our journey to the US whilst traumatic, actually allowed Dave, Abby and I to be a much closer family than we would have ever been in the UK. We were strangers in a country with no friends and family which then caused us to become more insular and learn how to depend on each other.