Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jesus and Crayons

Sometimes Jesus sneaks into our day. ... The last few days, Cecilia has been talking and asking a lot about Jesus.

Cecilia: I miss my Jesus.

Mommy: Sweetie, Jesus is always with you, even if you can't see Him.

Cecilia: I want to see Him. Where does He live?

Mommy: He lives in Heaven.

Cecilia: We need to get Him out.

Mommy: Well, I don't think we can get Him out of Heaven, but, maybe one day, if you are a good girl, you will get to go to Heaven and see Jesus and you can even give Him a hug.

Cecilia (on the verge of crying) : I want to give Him a hug. I miss my Jesus.

While this conversation usually ensues at the beginning or end of the day when she is a bit sleepy and hence emotional, it is a priceless dialogue. We've had it a few times now. She will be on the verge of crying for her Jesus. She knows of Him as we have taught her about Him: that it is He on the crucifix; that he died and came back to life; that He loves her and wants her to be a good girl; that Mary is His mommy; that He lives in Heaven, etc. But she hasn't seen Him come to dinner or play with her with her toys or given her hugs and tickled her. She hasn't brushed her teeth with Him like she does with Grandpa or played on the playground like she does with Daddy. She seems, logically, to think Jesus lives in Heaven like Grandma lives in Florida; Heaven must be a 51st state somewhere on her U.S. Map puzzle.

She seems to have recently run up against the confusion of why she always hears about Jesus and is told He is here, even when he is "hiding in the bread," and yet she never sees Him like she does everyone else. To be honest, I'm running out of new answers to give her, but that might be a good thing. Maybe it will help her to come to understand that Jesus isn't quite like everyone else. Jesus is exceptional. She knows "Jesus is God" but, understandably for a three year old, she doesn't know what that really means. But she is beginning to understand that, while Jesus may not knock on our door to stop in for a hotdog or read "What Do You Do With A Tail Like This?" to her, He is important in her life in a way that everyone else is not.

Sometimes Jesus interjects himself into your day with His very name in the innocent words of a three year old. Other times, it is in the silence of a one year old.

As I was preparing a grocery list in the kitchen yesterday, Felicity quietly went into a drawer, pulled out the lunchbox of crayons and a few coloring books, and then sat quietly on the kitchen floor coloring. Simple enough, right? I hadn't even noticed her as I foraged through our cabinets figuring out what I needed for a pumpkin pie and what we already had. I turned to see this little angel in her diaper, sitting quietly on the white tile floor with the flickers of sunlight dancing around her while she focused intently on where her green crayon made its marks on the page. I was struck by how beautiful and precious the moment was. In my busyness, the silence of grace halted me to appreciate a precious moment. A simple moment, but so worth remembering. I dared not move for my camera but made every effort I had to ingrain the image into my memory.

I have to thank God for such reminders. I pray daily, but, also daily, I get very distracted with three little ones demanding my attention and care. It reminds me that, not only is He there through the over-tired meltdowns and the popcorn picnics, but He understands that I get distracted and why I get distracted and he doesn't mind, in various ways, reminding me of His presence.

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