Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blinking to the Mainland.

Tonight's devo with the daughter left me amazed again and wondering who the adult is. She is such an old soul! Tonight we shared how tough it can be to make wise decisions. We talked about the choice to always tell the truth, and how hard it is to be kind to our bullies. Amidst this conversation, she told me about one of the themes in her favorite fairy book series. She is a big fan of fairies. One of the first sentences she ever wrote, at the age of three, was a prayer to God in a little green diary asking to fly. I think that is when her fascination with fairies began. I will keep that diary forever.

In this particular series, the fairies can "blink to the mainland" and suddenly be either home in Neverland or on earth making flowers bloom or intricate snow flakes fall. Tonight my little one said, "life would be so much easier if we could just 'blink to the mainland' and be in heaven. Then I wouldn't have to face making anymore bad decisions."

I understand how she feels. Life would truly be great if we could blink away our struggles and hide in the arms of the Father. Therein lies the great irony. We can. When we 'blink to the mainland' we do not immediately travel across time and space to escape our burdens. When we 'blink to the mainland' we can, however, consider the wealth and beauty that awaits us there. We can hand our struggles over to the creator. We can faithfully make decisions that will lead us to our mainland someday.

I tried to convey this idea to my eight year old. She didn't really buy it, but I hope someday she'll understand. For now, I will attempt to paint vivid pictures of a peace-filled mainland without bullies, without mistakes. I will, though feebly, describe our mainland of never ending beauty where we can explore and fly together with new fairy wings that never tire. I eagerly await the day when she and I 'blink to the mainland' together forever.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tug-of-war, a spoon, and nonconsequentialism.

A few nights ago my family gathered around our table for tomato soup. After our usual prayer and usual acknowledgement of all supplies I forgot to bring to the table, I asked for someone to grab me a spoon. Out of nowhere my two eldest children jumped out of their seats and dashed to the silverware drawer. My daughter made it there first and grabbed the spoon. My son, fearing no opponent regardless of size, began a tug-of-war, yanked it from her hand and the wrestling match began. Before my husband or I could stop them, they were on the floor screaming over who gets to take the spoon to mommy. It was weird.

As a parent of young kids, I spend my days pleading with someone to take their brother's underwear off their head or begging for them to limit toothpaste usage to a minimum. Never did it occur to me that my children would want to please me because they love me. Normally, I fear that they sense the dark and vengeful wrath that will unfold if they write their name one more time on the bathroom mirror with said toothpaste. Quite honestly, there is a part of me that wants them to fear my wrath. Maybe, simple respect is more of what I'm looking for.

In my ethics class last week we discussed theories of nonconsequentialism. That is, the theory that one makes choices based on intuition, duty, or out of sheer goodness. A nonconsequentialist pays no mind to the outcome, or consequences, of their decisions. This is a simplified definition, of course. There are other ins and outs that include philosophers like Kant and Ross, but I'll save that for a paper I'm sure to have due any moment. A nonconsequentialist obeys laws because they should, not out of fear of punishment.

This has me much more fulfilling parenting would be if my children did what I asked because they love me. Something as simple as bringing a spoon shows that they do, at the least, long for my approval.

Transfer these thoughts to our spirituality.

Do we race to please God or do we obey out of fear of His wrath? Would it please Him more if our motives were to please Him; rather than to avoid spiritual death or gain eternal life? Am I truly living out a love for the father, or am I living out a routine that keeps me out of trouble? Am I teaching my children to obey me for me, or to obey in order to please our God?

God truly reveals His feelings for us, in that He wants to be our father. He is not described as our militant dictator. He is our father. The one who loves the undeserving. The father that loves His children. The least we can do is love Him back.

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." 1 John 3:1a

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When you know everything.

When I was sixteen I knew everything.
When I was eighteen I knew even more.
When I was twenty-one I questioned what I knew.
When I turned thirty I was sure I knew nothing.
It's been a slow progression of mental lapse and deterioration since then. Now...
I'm thirty blah blah years old and I know very little.

I know I love my children.
I know I love my husband.
I know that I believe in a creator.
I know that I believe in the creator's son.
I know that there are questions without answers.

I know I may never know more than that, but I sleep well at night in my ignorance.