Sunday, May 3, 2009
Child of God
That phrase "child of God" never meant much to me until very recently. Today I was reflecting on this because of the second reading from Mass, from 1 Jn 3:1: "Think what love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God's children; and that is what we are."
Sometimes Maia is very difficult... especially when she's tired, but certainly not ONLY when she's tired. Sometimes she wants things right at that minute: "RIGHT NOW!" she'll yell. She occasionally splashes large amounts of water out of the bathtub. She sometimes purposely wakes up her snoozing sister. She knows how to be sneaky to get what she wants. And she's not above manipulating her parents, including playing them off of one another.
And sometimes I look at her in the midst of one of her tantrums and think... this must be exactly what God thinks when He's looking down on me. In other words, I'm demanding, impatient, careless of my resources, thoughtless to others, and manipulative. I act as though I'm not so much concerned with pleasing God as I am with pleasing myself. And when it doesn't work out, I complain.
Now on the other hand, I have a special image of my mind that I hope never to forget. It's Maia on her birthday. With two grandmas in town, plus one grandpa, we put all of her gifts on the table the night before her birthday, including three daisies and a huge butterfly balloon. The gifts were all of the $5-sort, which is all a three-year old requires for true delight. And she was so excited to open each one. Her friend Mary Lou, plus the grandmas, took her to library story hour, and then we all got together (Dad, Grandpa Bob, and myself plus the Grandmas and Lou) for her favorite pizza for lunch.
Then I went to meet with my dissertation director, and when I came home, I found Maia napping peacefully, exhausted from her birthday bliss. She was wearing a new nightgown, a new tutu, new necklace, and, the best part... she had taken the balloon to bed too.
Now that is utter appreciation for gifts. And it's how I would like to respond to God's gifts in my life. With no thought of disappointment, but just joy and excitement.
As my friend Nikki pointed out, it's interesting how being a child involves both tantrums and delight, impatience and excitement, manipulation and love. It is nice to know that God lavishes love on me, letting me be called a child of God whether at my best or worst moments.