The congregational prayer was over and she was in my arms whispering “mommy, she’s cwwying”
My daughter saw a woman’s tears coming down as prayers were going up for comfort. This woman could NOT wait to be a grandmother. It happened just two weeks after the parents, with joyous anticipation, had a gender-revealing party. But then… a tragedy ensued as the life in the womb was lost all too soon; the soon-to-be parents were devastated. And so were their parents.
The problem of pain has always been a huge problem.
As we walked back into our pew to get ready for the sermon, my girl repeated the same obvious observation: “mommy, she’s cwwying.” I reply “yes, baby girl, she is. Do you want to go give her a hug?” She pondered for a second and answered simply in a whispering voice with a short “yah.” Then she crawled down from my lap, walked across the aisle, a few pews down and past the woman’s husband; my girl puts her little head in her lap and whispers a few words from her limited vocabulary she has: “it’s okay, it’s okay, don’t cwwy…” that’s what I could barely read on her lips as she was quietly comforting this grandmother-to-be.
The few in the congregation that noticed this two-year-old comforting and showing compassion were extremely moved by the image unfolded. I teared up and my heart stopped fitting inside my chest. How can a two-year-old who can barely understand her own feelings could understand the feelings in the tears of someone 25 times her age? How can her little brain remain focused enough to go comfort a grown-up, then come right back into my lap still concerned for this hopefully-soon-to-be-again-grandmother’s well-being?
If you knew my daughter, you’d know exactly what I mean. She is high-energy, NO is her favorite word and her attention span is about the size of a mustard seed (Christian pun intended). Nothing different from most two-year-olds: patience-trying, tantrum throwing, self-absorption is an understatement, overly in love with her toys, TV, and sugar.
But… come to think of it, I find myself throwing tantrums quite often as well. I love chocolate and I’m so self-absorbed at times that I forget there’s a world outside my bubble. Genes can play against us sometimes. So it’s not just a two-year-old. It’s me too. And, based on the news I read on my phone today, it’s the human nature in all of us. Humanity is wired for selfishness. Living in a constant fight against Self is a lifestyle beyond one’s abilities. Yet, it is living for something greater than Self that seems to give greater meaning to one’s own existence.
When God created this beautiful world of ours, He also created man and woman to rule it with care and compassion. But then Genesis 3 happened and it all went to the gutter. We have about 65 books following it to talk about the steady depravity of our race. And then hundreds and hundreds of historical records showing that, out of the last 3,400 years, there are only about 268 that knew peace.*
Isn’t that terrible? Here’s my belief: moral values are unchangeable if they are set from the Source of morality. So we need to go back to our origins.
We are created beings, so just like I see my genes transferred over to my daughter (I’m sorry, A!), I have to look back at my father and mother and figure out what traits I got from them for the good and for the bad sides in me. Furthermore, we need to go back to our race’s Creator and figure out how he wired us to be, and when were those wires crossed/short-circuited. What was it that God put inside of us that was warped after Genesis 3?
My theory is that the key to living beyond our abilities is to prayerfully allow God to keep us on the good side of our wires. I truly believe that my girl’s behavior that Sabbath morning was an answered prayer. It was her unknowingly choosing to live for something greater than herself. Wouldn’t it be great if more of us chose to do that more often than not? Wouldn’t it be great if we chose to be someone’s answered prayer?