About 8 years ago around this time of year, our daughter-in-law was hospitalized due to a medication reaction. My husband and son are both CPA’s and were working 7 days a week at that time. That day I was charged with looking after our 2 and ½ year old grandson, Mikey, and 8-month-old granddaughter, Cate. I will always remember the sheer panic I felt as my husband left for work that morning leaving me with our grandchildren for the next 8+ hours. While they were frequently at our house and I was well accustomed to their schedule, this was not what I had planned for my day to be sure!
My week was set out before me with a task list for each day and suddenly I found myself moving from go, go to stop. I admit it took me a while to slow down internally, I used all the clichés and metaphors I could remember to convince myself that this work was my call for the day. Meeting agendas, papers to be written, and email responses would need to be done on a different day. I told myself that this was my invitation from God to slow down, be present and receive the gift of each moment.
Mikey was going through a Thomas the Tank phase, so I entered his world of Thomas and listened to his stories of what each character was doing. We ended up outside with sidewalk chalk drawing tracks and islands, and Mikey was enthralled with what we were creating together. I remember looking deeply into his eyes, feeling mesmerized by their clear, earnest and joyfully expression. It was then that I understood I was looking into the Imago Dei and joy filled my heart.
Later that afternoon when both children were napping (and Grandma was sitting staring into space with a cup of coffee to bolster her during the rest of the evening), I realized that in forcing myself to be present to my life circumstances, I understood what St. Paul was encouraging his audience in his letter to the Philippians. “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:9) I once read that we all want to find the Pearl of Great Price (Matt 13:45-46), but we’re not always willing to pay the price. We want it without putting the time in…. Putting in the time requires hard work and discipline and it doesn’t sound very exciting. How do you respond to the change of plans in your day? What has been your experience when you have been willing to allow that change?
We mirror Your beauty
For we are made for You
We complete your universe
May all we do
May all we think
Be a song of joy
May we add our voices
To the song of the monks
In the quiet hours of night
Who wait patiently for the dawn.
Excerpts from A Prayer to Celebrate Life, The Hope Prayer, Fr. Liam Lawton.
Reflection and Photograph © 2019 Jean Bowler