[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=child+laughing+father&iid=5066446″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5066446/father-holding-daughter/father-holding-daughter.jpg?size=500&imageId=5066446″ width=”234″ height=”312″ /]The migraine lifted just before bed last night. Three days of pounding pain finally gone. I slipped under the sheets sighing, smiling, ready for sweet slumber. Sleep eluded me, though, as persistent hunger pains had replaced the stabbing pain behind my right eye–I’d been eating light for days and was famished. So, at 10:30pm, I slipped into to the kitchen and began scrounging through the fridge and cupboards. Spoon-sized Shredded Wheat was in hand, but decided against it. I almost made a fried egg sandwich, but somehow tuna won the day.
I popped a slice of bread in the toaster and opened a can of StarKist. Instantly, Boots, our tuxedo cat, appeared out of the shadows with his full “meow” on. When it comes to tuna, our easygoing kitty turns into a downright demanding cat. At attention, with eyes boring into my back, he mewed mercilessly til I spotted the floor with tidbits of tuna. The feast was on and nothing else mattered–whether I was in the room became unimportant, whether the roof was caving in was unimportant–he was in kitty heaven. Whoever said tuna is kitty cocaine is on to something… After creating an open-faced tuna on toast dinner, I realized Boots had moved on–he’d inhaled the treat and, most likely, had returned to Emily’s lap downstairs.
As I reflect on my relationship with God I wonder if I don’t have a bit of Boots in me. Do I want something/anything more than I want to “be” with Him? Do I sit and demand that He give, give, give without caring whether it is He who gives it or if it comes from somewhere else? When gifts are given, do I acknowledge His hand behind the giving or do I simply consume and keep on going? Is He on the radar or am I focused on getting what I want and He is a means to that end?
When Charlie & Emily were young, I taught them to say “please” and “thank you”. Every time they left for a friend’s house, I would remind them of their “P’s and Q’s”. Every time they returned from a friend’s house, I’d ask them if they remembered. I think they got it, as parents commented on how polite they were. I’ll bet they still say “please” and “thank you”. Of course, I was only thinking of raising “good” kids by instilling this habit, but, as I think about it, I see that simple courtesies and gratitude help people “see” each other, it helps us connect, even bond.
Looking back (for they are 18 & 20 now), I don’t think I taught them to say “please” and “thank you” with God. Well, I guess the rote dinner prayers always included “thank you” for the food–we said plenty of those, if that counts. It is a heart place I’m referring to, though, not a memorized prayer said in haste so the potatoes don’t get cold. I guess I never taught it because I saw God like Boots saw me last night, as one practically obliged to give good gifts to His children–“it’s part of the deal, God, hand it over!” has flashed through my heart more times than I care to admit. I saw God as many Americans see merchants, as a means to an end instead of as someone they’re in relationship with. In Minnesota, we say “please” and “thank you”–we’re “nice”, you know. But I wonder how many of us actually mean what we say, how many of us actually say it with conviction and out of a desire to “see” the other, connect with them, even bless them.
OK, back to God. Time to get my “P’s and Q’s” on. Time to remember this isn’t a transaction, this is a relationship. Time to ask with my heart and not my selfish desire; time to say “thank you” while overflowing with gratitude instead of a “it’s about time You showed up!” chip on my shoulder.
Like Boots presently–who is laying on my arm and purring– I can come to God, find forgiveness and start again, ready to connect, ready to bond…in His arms and laughing.
Thank you, Father, thank you, Jesus…THANK YOU!