How or Why?

I spent this morning with a good friend of mine. His name is Michael and he is three years old (no, I don\’t have a pic of him to post, sorry!). After his mom left, I got to sit in his presence and play games, chat, check out the new things in his room and he even treated me to a scrumptious snack bar, unwrapped and presented on a plate at the table. Pretty amazing for a three year old!

Michael is one of those unique children who is at rest in his innocence. He was utterly calm, cool and collected during my visit. I entered that \”place\” with him and opted to stay there. For a couple of hours I was totally at peace too. We were both at rest in each other\’s presence. No demands, no grasping, no agenda, no crippling self-consciousness, no trying to please the other, just being together and seeing what came next. I think that is one of the wonders of children that we go back to as we move toward God–being. Don\’t get me wrong, Michael and I did things, but the things were secondary to our being together, they were how we were together, not why we were together.

Do we dare do as much with each other. Is the how more important than the why? Do we gather to accomplish something, to learn/say something or to say we did something? Or, do we gather to be together with an activity tossed in for good measure? Of course, any gathering will have individuals present who carry their own agenda, whose needs are splayed about the room tugging at someone or anyone who\’ll respond…makes for a battleground, really. We can really only control our own motivation here.

So, unless we\’re with a unique three year old, like Michael, how do we be with another who isn\’t into being? How do we gather just to gather without jockeying for anything, without needing to learn something, without desiring someone to fill our bucket, or needing to feel good about ourselves by getting something accomplished? I think it comes from being with God.

You know there is an analogy out there that addresses that our working for God is really God\’s work. The picture is of a father and child mowing the lawn together. The child wants to help, so Dad calls the child to stand behind the mower and push, knowing full well the child doesn\’t have the strength to push that mower by him/herself. So Dad stands behind, with his hands next to the child\’s on the mower and together they push, with Dad doing all of the work (of course). It appears the child is helping to mow the grass but anyone with any sense can see Dad\’s doing the mowing. Our work for God is similar, He does the work and lets us in on it. Why, though, why let us in if He is doing all the work? When we witness a parent/child sight like this, we don\’t marvel at the child or the parent or even the lawn being mown, we simply stop and see how beautiful they are together. We recognize how they are together instead of why they are together…face it, something like this has little to do with a manicured lawn. The lawn thing happens, but the way it happens is what captures our heart. So I posit to you…could it be that our \”mowing\” efforts are more about how we are with God and He with us than why we are with God and He with us? Could His desire for us to serve Him be little more than a call for us to simply be with Him? Does He want, above all, just to be with us and the work thing to be the means to this end?

Is the inner place of rest of a little child like Michael, whose unreflective innocence and sense of security results in simplicity of being, something that comes back to us as we move toward/work with God? Dare I desire just to be with God and see where that goes instead of wanting to serve Him whether He is present or not? Dare I drink in the idea that He just wants to be with me and let the how we are together take precedence over the why we are together? Can I do as much with personal relationships? Maybe if I get the shift right in my relationship with God, the shift in my relationship with others will happen as a consequence. But then again, Michael helped me see the shift, helped me live the shift for a while…maybe it all happens almost simultaneously–our relationship with God is a reflection of our relationship with others and vice versa. Hmmmm….

Anyway, thanks Michael for a beautiful morning! Loved being with you!!

(Contemplation: yesterday was a bit rocky–the dog kept barking. In fact, just as I was really going deep he kicked into high…like he knew or something. Oh well, had a few nice moments of resting in God and reaching up. Will do as much again today–Buster is much more placid today. Yay!)

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