It was Columbus Day, and all my kids were off from school. My husband, however, not only worked a normal work day, but he also had to teach a night class. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation at the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, and we are very proud of his work! That night, like many before, he was teaching a class at a local parish. “Daddy has to teach people about Jesus tonight,” as our kids like to say.
I had packed some dinner for my husband (trust me, this does not happen every time!), and we were dropping it off at his office. The kids love to see Daddy and Daddy loves to see the kids…so it was a win-win…albeit just a drive-by in the minivan!
There is a beautiful statue of Jesus in the front parking lot of the Diocese building. I often start to pray as soon as I see it. If we’re driving by from the road, I’ll often just say the name of Jesus (I was told that was a prayer too!). But, if we are closer to the statue (like in this case), I often start to pour out my heart with whatever is on my mind at the moment.
So, I began my internal dialogue that night: “JESUS! Please, HELP me! Help me! Daddy is working tonight, and there are many hours left in the day. There is dinner, clean-up from dinner, more chores, baths, moments (including quarrels, meltdowns, and incredibly sweet and lovely moments…often in the same few minutes), maybe a story (if I still feel sane), prayers, and then bedtime. And, I’m very tired because I’ve had the kids by myself all day. Help me…not to lose my patience, to be kind and caring, and not to lose my patience. Please help. Oh, and thank you for these beautiful children…please protect them and keep them healthy and safe. And, help. Thanks. Amen”.
So, it’s more like a stream of consciousness pouring forth. But, you get it…I see Jesus and I start to beg. I know this is exactly what He wants…to be my daily bread…but, I still kind of feel guilty sometimes! He has given me so much, and yet I beg for more.
And, then there’s my children. They saw the big status of Jesus, and the most beautiful spontaneous prayers came of out their young mouths!
After greeting Jesus, Gianna made up a prayer asking for God to help me be a good mommy (she must have sensed my mood…she’s starting to read me well at age 6!). Joseph (4-1/2) said his daily prayer from preschool…some very sweet rhyming verses praising and thanking God for “all He’s made!”
Cecilia (3) started to sing the goodbye song from preschool. Namely, “Before we say goodbye, we bow our heads in prayer. Dear Father, bless each little child and keep them in Thy care.” I love this song…I have my 3 oldest children on video singing it (they all attend/attended the same Christian preschool).
Justin (2) just joined in shouting excitedly, “Jesus! Hi! Jesus! Hi!” And Lucy slept…sweet baby slumber.
Of course, all of this was happening simultaneously so it probably just sounded like a bunch of chaotic children trying to speak louder than the next. But, it was music to my ears. I experienced a great moment of happiness when I realized that my children were responding like this to a statue of Jesus. For a (brief) moment, I thought maybe I have been doing something right!
My next thought was, “I GET IT!!!!” I totally get why Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” Especially when it comes to small children, as they are just plain happy to see Him…no strings attached. They don’t instantly start begging or asking for things. The closest parallel in my life right now is when my baby first sees me when she wakes in the morning…immediately joy-filled just at the sight of me!
I made a promise to myself…greetings and praises before petition while praying. Of course, that was a month ago, and it doesn’t always work like that! I often revert back to my old ways as I try to “lay my burden down at the cross” rather than carry the weight with me as I go.
Someone once said to me in passing, “When praises go up, blessings come down.” I never forgot it…although my children are helping me to remember. I get it!
Copyright 2012 Trish Bolster