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.