Feb 28, 2011
A very grateful note of appreciation to A.A. for a thoughtful and encouraging response to last week’s column. A.A. makes an important point—in those times when we ourselves have become the focus of our attention, if we act in integrity, our behavior by God’s grace can make music in the kingdom that others are blessed to hear. In God’s economy the lullaby I sing for my tired inner child may comfort others as well.
Those of you who are interested in Chief Therapy Cat, Fraulein Freud (aka Miss Annie) may wish to know that she had a long adventure last week—she was gone for nearly three hours, and returned without her collar and tags. She showed no sign of injury or (unfortunately) of any increased understanding that the world can be a dangerous place. Instead, she appeared to have gained a rather inflated opinion of herself, demanding more than her usual ration of treats in recognition of her exceptional skill in finding her way home again. She is now annoyed to find herself under household restriction until her collar and tags have been replaced. She may be required to contribute to the cost of their replacement out of her treat allowance. I am weighing the ratio of reward for bravery and cost of the adventure. It is not easy to establish just and merciful consequences and balance the budget.
A young friend gave me the gift of a Saturday breakfast in a delightful down town restaurant primarily patronized by twenty-somethings and young thirties. Several had brought their infants and young children with them. Seated in a booth near us was a young couple with their beautiful daughter who appeared to be a very grown-up two going-on-three. As she ate, she was paying focused attention to her spoon (which was quite large for her small hand) while she was consuming with undisguised joy a small mountain of strawberries and whipped cream that topped her pancake. After each careful bite she would smile with delight, her smile (and much of the rest of her face) decorated in white whipped cream. Her father would smile with her at each delectable bite, then, while she was reloading her spoon, with quick efficiency, he would remove a portion of the whipped cream on her face with his napkin. I watched for some time as the two of them shared their parent-child pancake ballet filled with joy and the rhythm of spoon and napkin and the mutuality of shared delight.
Paul writing to Timothy reminded him that God, our heavenly parent, furnishes us richly with all things to enjoy (2 Tim 6:17). I shall remember long the joy in that young father’s face. That memory helps me celebrate again the God Who imagined strawberries and cream into existence, Who shares my delight in them AND, on occasion, helps with the whipped cream on my face.
Incarnation is about God sharing strawberries and whipped cream—not just about companionship with us in the hard places on the journey. Living into this reality changes the way in which we understand and celebrate our relationship with God.
What are you and God enjoying together these days?
Celebrating with you a God who cares about our delight and joy, and makes us rich in all things however small.
See you next week.