Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Window into Their Souls

Since Tim’s birthday last week, John has been going around singing, “May God bwess you! May God bwess you!”

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” And they do.

I treasure the moments I’ve spent with my children in prayer, in Mass, in scripture reading. Their innocence, authenticity, and trust surely delight God as they do me.

There was two-year-old Kolbe who one day grasped a crucifix and said, “Jesus, come to the prayer meeting tonight and give me a big hug!”

He had just learned the “Our Father” and one night piously concluded his prayers with “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Nemo.”

We once overheard Kolbe sing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I don’t want to go to bed” to the tune of “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.”

Prayer provides such a window into a soul. Kids pray about the things most important to them—for healthy babies and ailing grandparents, for long-dead cats and long-awaited puppies.

For years astronaut Alan Shepherd figured prominently in Tim’s prayers. Tim had read so many books about the early space missions, he was full of gratitude that Colonel Shepherd had survived his flight. Later Tim moved on to electronics. Kneeling at weekday Mass, I watched him clasp his hands and say, “Jesus, I don’t have a gameboy.”

As my children have grown, I have watched their prayers change a bit. One summer day we were scattered around the house having a few moments of private prayer. Kolbe had a prayer journal that walked children through prayers of praise, repentance, thanksgiving, and petition.

“Mom," he called from the next room, “How do you spell kicked?”

A few minutes later I heard, “Mom, how do you spell tripped?”

And finally, “Mom, how do you spell brother?”

I’m guessing he was on the repentance part.

Kolbe’s journal includes places to draw pictures. Nearly every drawing is of our family. The stick-family Dolins are always gathered around a bonfire. His intercessions express urgent pleas for a dog and a fervent hope that Ainsley would be a boy.

The oddest prayer? “Thank you for this day, the soldiers in Iraq, and the rights of Englishmen.”

Glancing through Kolbe’s journal, I’m glad Ainsley is a girl, but I suddenly have a yen to drag out the fire pit. As for the dog, one day, sweet Kolbe, one day.

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