Monday, January 13, 2014

Fifteen Minutes

Father Jacques Philippe is in Augusta leading a four night retreat on loving God. Last night was his first talk, and it was awesome – a clear, basic, life changing message on God’s desire to meet us in personal prayer.

We can be so busy being servants of God, Father Philippe shared, that we forget to be friends of God.

It’s all about relationship.

I have been chewing on this very theme for some time now. This year in the atrium, we had our usual lively discussion as we pulled out my favorite material – The History of the Gifts. We began by talking about how God fashioned everything out of nothing.

If we make a cake or a dress or a garden, we first gather our materials.

God, however, can make something out of nothing. A star, a Dogwood, an ocean, a boy, a girl.

“He spoke it into being,” shared five-year-old  Elena.

I thought back to a Mama meltdown I had had the Christmas before last. It was a typical pre-Christmas morning – my To Do list was long and perhaps my patience was a little short.

Ainsey was into everything. 


Finger paint, yogurt -- can't see much of a difference., really.
First it was the cache of photos she nabbed from a basket. Then she moved on to the Christmas cards I had just sorted. The final straw was the yogurt. I came into the kitchen to find yogurt everywhere – on the floor, in her hair, mostly in her hands. She had two handfuls and was doing this squish, squish, squish maneuver.

And I blew.

I yelled. I stomped. I washed her hands (and not very gently).

And she cried. She squeezed herself into a corner and cried.

By that point, I was crying, too.

I picked her up and started rocking her. I rubbed her back and wracked my brain to find the words that would undo my ugly tirade. I held her face in my hands and told her the truth: I always wanted you. Always, always, always. Before you were, I wanted you. When I was little, I wanted you. My whole life I’ve wanted you.

And I later thought that this is a sliver, just a wisp, of what God experiences with us, His creation.

He always wanted us. 

He spoke us into being.

He spoke, and we were (with a little help from our parents).

I have often thought that parenting brings out both the best and the worst in me. I can parent out of my moods, being oh so petty, so impatient. I can parent out of fear, thinking far too much about an endless list of awful that can befall my kids. I can parent out of vanity, seeing these unique souls as some kind of extension of myself.

But these little souls God has entrusted to me have also brought out my absolute best – my self-sacrifice, my joy, my unconditional love, an ability to simply delight in them regardless of who they become, irrespective of how they perform, of what they accomplish  – I truly and simply and deeply -- oh so deeply -- love them just because they are.

And so it is with God who delights in His creations, who seeks to draw all men and women and children unto Himself, who desires not just our service, but our companionship.

Fifteen minutes, Father Philippe told us, it begins with just fifteen minutes.

Fifteen minutes -- so simple, so doable.

We can be so busy being servants of God, Father Philippe shared, that we forget to be friends of God.

It’s all about relationship.

( Father Jacques  Philippe is a French priest and the author of many books including Searching For and Maintaining Peace. For those in Augusta, the retreat continues tonight at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church at 7:30.)


Karen said...

This is not about this post which I truly enjoyed. I am curious. Did you use the prequel "Mommy teach me" to the "teach me to read book?

Mary @ Better Than Eden said...

This is a beautiful reminder. Thank you!

Kelly Dolin said...

Hi Karen - I did not use much of Mommy, Teach Me to Read (the one by Barbara Curtis). One of the things I like about the Hundred Lessons books is that it requires nothing besides the book. Teach Me to Read has great ideas and insights into the whole
process of learning, but the teaching of phonics requires you to buy or make letters and flashcards.

Natasha said...

Searching for and Maintaining Peace is one of my all-time favorite books. What a blessing to have him at your parish!