A very poignant God-moment with my baby girl, Madison, occurred this morning, and it came very suddenly. But first, some context.
I have a tendency to get short with my kids. Sometimes if they so much as open their mouths, then I am interrupting them and talking over them. I am fully aware of how rude and inconsiderate and flat out ungentle this is. I cannot say for sure where I learned to behave this way, but I bet if I am being honest, then I probably do it all the time to everyone and don’t know it.
Perhaps my shortness comes from some misguided assumption that all my kids ever want to do is whine; therefore the assumption that anything they are about to say will just annoy me. Perhaps my shortness comes from an even more misguided presumption that I already know what they are going to say. Or, worst of all, perhaps I have built up some easily agitated walls that my children’s voices catapult down easily. Either way, I am realizing that this sort of behavior is unacceptable for a father who presumes to try to follow Christ, really any father though.
Okay, context is out of the way – my kids easily get under my skin, deservedly or not – now for what happened.
Madison’s tummy was upset this morning on our way to drop her off at school. As such, she expressed her pain to me. Immediately my thoughts were such that she was an impediment to me going to work, which annoyed me, even though there was no indication or provocation that Madison couldn’t go to school. Fighting my own thoughts of doom and gloom, I unloaded the kids from the car and proceeded to walk to their classrooms for drop off. However, Madison refused to move. I asked her why, and she told me that she didn’t want to have to carry her backpack.
Well, now, I am more agitated because the last thing I wanted to do was baby her and carry her stuff for her. In the very moment that I was to open my mouth and say something unpleasant a thought came exploding into my head.
“Carry this cross. I carried yours.”
Immediately I process this thought and my whole disposition towards the situation takes a 180-degree turn. Instead of chiding Madison for not wanting to carry her backpack I think what a beautiful opportunity to emulate Christ this can be. Now purposefully I pick up her backpack, and we all proceed to her classroom.
In hindsight I should probably have picked up my baby and carried her to class, but I didn’t. I just carried her backpack.
So what is the take-away?
Well, no matter my disposition, loving and caring for and being other-minded for my children and wife should be my first thought.
I have a looooooong road ahead of me, but I am thankful for the mind-slap God gave me this morning.
Father, Spirit, Jesus, give me the grace needed to lose my life so that I can find another life worth living, that is, living for the lives you put before me. I am so very far from having an awareness of others that it feels as far as the East is from the West. Unite the East and West in me when it comes to caring for others and maintain the East from the West when it comes to focusing on myself. Help me to lose this life. Amen.