Friday, August 07, 2009

seeing Jesus in my son

I have to admit, and it almost brings tears to my eyes to do it, but I must, that my almost-3-year-old son has been working on almost every. single. one. of my nerves lately. When I was a little girl, my mom would curse me with the words, "Someday, I hope you have a daughter just like you!" and, well, I don't necessarily think my daughter is cut from exactly the same cloth, but, whoo, boy! my son is just like me. In fact, while we were scrapping the other day, my husband said, "You two were made for each other."

That's all well and good, and even sweet when you write about it, but it's DIFFICULT in real life! Even earlier this week, when he was sick, I found myself more annoyed with him than ever, prompting my mother to look at me sideways, a look that clearly said, "Wow, you are the most un-compassionate mother ever." Actually, I don't know if she really meant it that way, but that's what I saw in her look. She was able to look at him and how pitiful he was with his little puffed-out lip (he had hand, foot, and mouth disease and got the little sores the worst between his lower lip and gums) and have compassion on him. Of course, she also wasn't the one who was up with him almost the entire night before, thinking that because he was sick he should be sleeping extra-well, but instead he bounced back and forth all night between his bed and mine, crawling all over me, scratching me when I didn't comply with his requests for proper positioning, and smacking me full-on on the head in the morning when he was ready to get up and I wasn't.

As I write this now, I am sitting at Panera, getting ready to dive into finishing my sermon for this Sunday. Yesterday, when I found out that a parishioner was in the hospital, I knew that the sermon wasn't going to get done and that I would need to utilize daycare today instead of having the day off and at home with the kids. I'll tell you the first thing I felt: RELIEF. And then, about 2.5 seconds later, GUILT. I should WANT to be home with my kids, right? Because otherwise, in the words of a former parishioner, Why did I have them, then? (She was half-joking, and you'd have to know her, so she wasn't being entirely evil.)

I'm finding parenting wee ones to be troublesome right now, especially with Jack. He is just such a handful. Yet, when I read this post at Process & Faith, I had a moment of clarity, or at least of possibility. Imagine if I could learn to see Jesus in my son. If I could learn to see that in the midst of all his difficulties, his strong-willed-ness, his obstinate nature and occasional hurtful physical outbursts, he still embodies Christ.

I especially took a breath at these words:

"...we literally encounter Christ in everyone we meet. When we see Christ in family, friends, and strangers, our relationships are transformed; they become opportunities for supporting, nurturing, and building up one another. No encounter is unimportant, because Christ always meets us in the “least of these” – in refugees from war-torn lands, harried store clerks, undocumented workers, persons with mental illness – as well as familiar companions – stressed-out partners, playful children and grandchildren, and difficult congregants. This is the meaning of 'lived omnipresence,' which is at the heart of process theology. God is present in everyone and can be experienced in our encounters with everyone."

Here's hoping that I can somehow see the person of Christ in the person of Jack, and that, perhaps, our relationship can be transformed.


Songbird said...

Don't forget to look for Christ in yourself, too. And remember this is a transition not just for you but for your whole family. Cut your parenting some slack. Solo pastoring is a whole different ballgame, and you are still learning the rules. It will get better. I'm glad you had the day care option for today!

Charlie said...

I'm not a spiritual person, not for lack of effort, but a close and respected friend once said to me, "If you can't find God... remember that God acts thru people." I never did find God. But I have found that even on my 3-year-old daughter's most trying and ill-behaved days, she is still like a gem turning in the sun.

And yeh, her habits that get to me most...are the ones she inherited from me.

Juniper said...

I can relate with this so much more than you know. No one has ever challenged or delighted me more than my son, but those challenging times - oh, boy!

Oh, lots more to say on day care guilt, keeping it simple, I would say that writing a sermon at panera while enjoyable, is still work. No reason to feel guilty about being at your job just because you like to do it.

ok, now stop whatever you doing right now and go to this blog: Scroll down to "The Right Kind Of Grace" Really, go now. You wont be sorry.

Sarah said...

Thank you all for your comments! And Songbird, how novel, to look for Christ in myself?!?! :-P I do need to be more gentle with myself; I know that and am working on it day-by-day...

Charlie, thanks for stopping by...I agree with you that finding God in the kindness of others is often how I see faith expressed, and I see sometimes more "Christian" behavior from those who wouldn't consider themselves Christians than from our church-goers!

And, Juniper, thank you so much! Both for your feedback and words of affirmation ("No reason to feel guilty about being at your job just because you like to do it" ... another novel suggestion! :]) and the referral to the blog article -- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

Juniper said...

hey, came back to see if you read Janell's post. Her parenting stuff is the best in teh blogosphere, I think. At least, she most often hits me where I live :)

See you soon!