Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Where are you taking me, Little One, Little One?

Shortly after my first daughter was born I realized that she was not something new that was added to my life, on top of what was there, in addition to the rest.

Becoming a parent was not like becoming a stamp collector. It did not indicate a new interest but a new center.

Parenting was now the center of my life and, actually, I also came to know, it was the center in a way my life never had a center, before.

My life was taken apart for me and around this child I had to re-collect and re-structure all those scattered pieces--at least the ones that could be adapted to fit--around this new center. If it didn't fit then out it went. Lucky I was not alone in this.

It was, in the words of a contemporary prophet, about "...what to leave in, what to leave out."

Some of what got "left out" was hard to turn loose of, but that baby was easy to hold on to, necessary to hold on to--for all of the struggle and the difficulty. Putting the baby aside was just not an option.

My father said a time or two that he thought being in the Marine Corps made a man of me but he lived to hear me say that it was really the babies. Whatever I might have looked like before, I become a grown up (insofar as I really have) when the babies showed up.

This is no recent opening to me.

What is new, though, is how this perspective is broadened now that I realize that in a less dramatic and more gradual way the center of my life has become that daily, abiding grace called, by some, Christ. As my children grew so, too, did the "intrusion" of the Spirit into my consciousness, so too did my engagement with and submission to the Inner Light--showing me what needed to be changed in my life, giving me strength to do it and gentle but unremitting grief when I fell (and fall) short.

Just like the babies did.

Slowly, gradually but relentlessly and with a momentum not dictated by me, things that are not consistent with this divine principle that is transforming me are being eliminated--some of them going kicking and screaming and tearfully and painfully. These things just become harder to hold on to than the guide who is at the center of things for me, now, just as turning over and going back to sleep became harder for me to do--less appealing, even--than getting up to tend to a vomiting child.

The work in me is not over, by far. But the list of that which must go is clear to me and the sound of the chipping away is constant. And in joy I can look back at what once I was and forward to that which I can expect to become once God is "done" with me, when there is no "me," at all.

I once heard someone say that it's not about making God part of one's life--it's about making oneself part of God's life.

Little children will show the way, indeed.

1 comment:

Paul L said...

It's trite to say "this Friend speaks my mind", but you do. Every word of it ringing true. This is especially true after visiting my eldest daughter and her 13 month old twin sons. The same thing is happening to her.