There has been a two-year-old living in our home for about a month. As sweet and social and brave as she is, as the smallest in the house, she is quite demanding... While we do not really understand what she says most of the time, "WANT THAT!!!" is a phrase that seems to be quite clear. It is often followed by a very pretty "please" (which she caught on to very quickly). If this is not immediately followed by receiving the desired item, a high-pitched scream ensues. Ninety percent of the time, we have no clue what "that" is that she is referring to. And we have a feeling that neither does she. She just knows that she wants something. This whole one-sided game replays itself several times during the day, most often in the car (which is quite difficult if I'm the only other one in it).
WE do this all the time. We think there is something out there that will satisfy us, often not knowing what it is we really want... Oooo, a cool shirt, nope, that didn't do it. Oooo, ice-cream, nope - still searching. Oooo, a new friend, a new pet, a new car, a new (insert anything here!).
Then I read this by Albert Haase:
Spirituality is not about "getting" anything, but becoming aware of what we already have.
St. Teresa of Avila calls it "The Interior Castle".
Bono refers to it in: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".
St. Augustine brings it all together when he tells God; "You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You."
Ah-Ha! So, all I have to do is tell the sweet little munchkin that she really just needs to center herself and discover who it is that is residing in her. Simply close her eyes, and rest in the present moment. Just let her know that she will only be content when she realizes that she already has ALL SHE NEEDS! No problem.
Last week, we went to a very busy water park (guess that's redundant in June). While my ten-year-old went off with her friend, I was left with this little ball of energy (I would have been bored had she not been with me, so I was grateful). As bold as she is, she is also a major snuggler. Several times, as nap time approached, she would run up to me in her soaking wet suit and swim diaper (which, we all know, barely holds a thing), grab hold of my neck, stick her thumb in her mouth and rest her head on my chest. I melted. I didn't really care what was soaking into me. I simply closed my eyes amidst the screams of joy (and terror) going on around us and let the overwhelming peace of this moment take over.
St. Teresa explains why we close our eyes in these situations - we are making an effort not to look at other things of the world. We don't want to get distracted by anything else. WE DON'T WANT TO WANT ANYTHING ELSE BECAUSE WE ARE AT PEACE HERE, so we close our eyes to anything that might entice us or draw us away from Presence.
Jean Vanier, the founder of L 'Arche communities, said that those who are rejected by society because of their weakness and apparent uselessness are, in fact, a presence of God. This goes for the poor and marginalized of society; prisoners, those with physical and mental disabilities who have been chalked up as a "waste", and, often times, children. He then says that as we welcome the stranger, we will gradually discover the stranger inside of us. When we welcome the broken outside, they call us to discover the broken inside.
All these quotes helped me to understand why I closed my eyes and continue to remember the crazy peace that I felt in that moment. It helps me understand the love that overwhelmed my soul when I just basked in the Presence while not allowing myself to see or want anything else.
I was holding the presence of God in the stranger, the one rejected by society.
I realized that I did not need anything else because the brokenness in me was loving the brokenness in her, and that was filling us both.