I am lying here next to my daughter who is blissfully sleeping. I am watching her chest slowly rise and fall, hearing her heavy breath escape her beautiful lips. She is hardly. ever. still. I’m smiling because I rarely have time to behold her in all her little glory. In fact, she’s been going 100 miles an hour since moment one of her birth. She’s so full of verve. She beholds life, wide eyed, in all it’s glory. She soaks it all in and then runs to the next moment with even greater expectations. Her middle name could be “go” instead of ”Faith.” Her faith is instinctive. She is an inherent believer. Right now this little one believes in magic and in wonder; in love and in restoration; in trust and in hope. She is in Eden. She is our little glimpse of the “kingdom”. I think all of our children are in fact. Our little archetypes of grace.
I read a magnificent book a couple of years ago by Samir Selmanovic called “It’s all about God”. In the book Samir says,
“Our children are gazing at us, hoping in us. Theirs is the gaze of God.”
That quote resonates so purely with my spirit. It makes so much sense to me because I have learned so much about God, and thus love, by watching my children. I realize that my Hutch and Haven wake up every day looking at me. They are looking at me with trust. They are looking at me with love. They are not watching me and expecting me to fail them. They are not looking down at me waiting on me to make my next mistake. No–they are gazing at me with hope, and I believe their gaze is a beautiful representation of what God’s gaze is towards all of us. It is not one of disappointment. It is not one of shame. It is not one of disgust. It is one of remarkable love. One of grace, that sees wholeness. One of hope. Because we are God’s created beings, born in God’s image. God sees the beauty, truth and goodness present inside of us all even in the midst of our brokenness.
Today as I watched her sleep, and read consecutive posts online–from a recent celebrity’s “hurtful words”, to “what sin is” and “what scripture really means”, I realized that I need to become a believer again. For as another year passes, it’s time to be reminded. It’s time to stop, let go and look ahead. I need to believe again in love, magic, wonder, restoration, trust and hope. And I need to actively live those things out. I need to capture the beauty of the season of Advent, which we have just engaged in as a Christian Church, and I need to let the spirit of advent unveil in my life…daily. I need to stop being caught up in the argument and start trying to be a solution. I need to speak life, words of healing and be present to any that I can.
I need to constantly attempt to be what I was placed on this earth to be–what we all were placed on this earth to be–a representation of love. An illustration of hope. A life full of light.
You see, in the month of December I have come face to face with both heaven and hell.
In the prisons of Florida I saw hell in the eyes of those who believed they are without hope, undeserving of a future and unworthy of love. I have seen the personal hells of friends who at the height of their success, long to be both accepted for who they are, unconditionally loved and are still left feeling unfulfilled for all they need and want to be. I have heard hell in the words that Christians have used to speak “truth” to someone they don’t agree with.
But I have also seen glimpses of heaven–celebrations of Advent, Christmas and the Holiday season seen in churches, malls, movie theaters and homes. I have seen heaven in those that ring the bell outside of busy Walmarts in hopes of loose change. I have felt heaven at a memorial service of a dear loved one from our church as those that experienced her life then celebrated the gift and light that she was. I have felt heaven while lying in my bed considering the gaze of my child, and thus my God.
So the one thing I need in this new year is to believe again in goodness, truth and beauty and to exemplify them in my life. I need to seek to be goodness, righteousness and justice with every word and action I convey. I need to be a seeker of truth, knowing I will never capture it wholly and thus always being willing to comply when truth rings at my heartstrings in an unexpected way and from an unsuspecting person. I need to display beauty in my words, my art, and the whole of my life. I also need to be quick to claim the beauty of God showcased in all of creation.
Despite what I read, hear or see I will choose to have confidence in love, in hope, in God and in humanity. I will pray for patience for both this world and for myself…and for my girl as she eventually wakes up not from her nap, but to life. As she slowly realizes that Eden is not our present reality and that we are far from thy Kingdom fully come.
May we all awake to our present opportunity to BE all we were crafted to be.
May we all willingly accept this responsibility of letting love guide us.
And may we all, believe again.