Tonight, we had just gotten home from a baseball game – one of those little coach pitch games that are cute and only an hour or so. Which is exactly long enough because the two littlest ones are so ready for bed by the end. A two hour game would do us in. We get in the house and put things where they need to go and commence bedtime rituals. I grab a washcloth out of the drawer and go over to the sink to wet it, baby on the hip, and let the water run. The warm water takes a while, but it takes just long enough. Because it gives me a chance to take a look at the face of the sweet child I’m about to wash. He is drooly, but he is happy. And, he is looking up. Way up high – above the tall window over the sink, to a small plaque nailed up almost at the ceiling. It’s a little something I made Dan for our first Christmas. On the wood I had painted the words of St. Therese – the name of this blog, a sort of motto of our life, with a photo of a very young St. Therese someone had given me when I did mission work. It has hung in all our houses, usually in the kitchen, all these years.
And he is looking up, way up high, at this small picture of St. Therese… smiling at her. Like a young child who sees his sister from across the room and gets excited and smiles at her – he recognized her. It was beautiful. I’m grateful for the water needing to run. Such a short, passing moment, but such a special one. One that can’t be captured on camera, but one that stays in the heart.
To be present to the moment – is such a gift. It is something I struggle with, as I am pulled in eight different directions, and something I pray for constantly – to be present. To see the gift of the moment. To see that everything, everything is from the hands of God, not just the joy-filled moments, but even the many inconveniences of daily life. To be in this moment, to be present to the person I am with, to truly listen, to see Christ in that person and be present to Him too – this is love.
These moments with our littlest happen often. He slows me down in my tracks. I may be going through our bedroom with him on my hip, tidying up or getting him clean clothes out of his drawer, and in my mind, already onto the next thing … and he is drawn to an image. The crucifix, the picture of Mary, the icons of his patron saints. He looks right at them and smiles. Now he is getting bigger, and he waves and smiles. If we stop in front of the Sacred Heart picture, or one of the many crucifixes in our home (we try to have one in every room … almost there), he makes the sound “Jee!” excitedly with the biggest grin on his little chubby face. I know he knows it is Jesus. This is how children are. Children know Goodness. Children are drawn to Goodness. They are drawn to God, Goodness Himself. Before they can even speak, they know. They know Him. He has written on their hearts His love for them. Because of their innocence, they still remember those words – their hearts beat with His.
Jesus said “Let the little children come unto Me, and hinder them not, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” Let us learn from the littlest among us how to love Christ, how to be present with Him, for they truly know. Let us ask with childlike confidence, for Christ to give us the faith and the courage to be little once again, to sit in His Presence and smile at Him, and let Him smile at us.