Today I got the greatest little giggle watching a small toddler, still somewhat new to the confidence it takes to walk, move after a ball. His mother was just a few feet ahead pushing the pram. Her heartbeat never raised in the few steps she’d take before stopping to turn to look over her shoulder at her son, making sure hawks or large dogs haven’t carried him off.
But he’s not paying attention. At least not to her. Instead, he trusts his mom will be there, just in case. He trusts his feet to keep him steady. He trusts his legs to propel him forward. But now, in this moment I spy him, what he was learning to trust was the ball.
But I guess maybe God could be like his mother. Walking a few steps ahead for us to follow her lead; checking occasionally to see if we’re still there. Nothing to worry about. Trusting us to enjoy the moment, the sun, the breeze, and exploration. Mother-weary but with a secured calm that lets those looking on to know that all is good. “I got this. You got this. We got this.”
I guess God could also be like me, just walking around capturing glimpses of us in our present state and feeling the emotions we are meant to experience in every given moment no matter the weather or day. God just there. Moving. Seeing. Taking a moment to stop and smile as life unfolds. Embracing the excitement of what is to come next.
Maybe God is a combination of all three of us. A holy Trinity. Earthbound. Joy bound. Life in the fullest sense.
This divine boy tries again. Kicking before grabbing hold. The ball moves over a patch of grass and hopes up into the air. Just a little. Like a tiny daredevil at a county fair, it makes his face light up. He doesn’t stop believing he can get the ball. He doesn’t stop trying. Nor smiling with pure ecstasy and joy.
His mother and I shared a glance. The upwards lines in the center of our faces spoke a universal language. It said words like, "yes" and "oh, no" and "phew." Both us us there in our own joy the way it. often is expressed with silence to a stranger.
For a brief moment in our different lives, the three of us held a space worthy of capturing, bottling, and handing out to those who thirst for something more than the everyday and doldrums have to offer. Imagination tangible.
Finding a space like this space, where joy is a moment, is within our grasp. It only requires a willingness to seek it, to try at it, to fail with it a few times, and to persist. But first and foremost, it requires us to be present, be wide-eyed and be awake enough to be notice all the heart desires is always as close as anyone of us is to life. It is always right here in front of us.
At times it might seem fleeting, and frustrating, and impossible to catch much less hold on to. But there is joy in those spaces as well. Smiles being produced. Giggles to be had.
This space is God space. Always sacred. Always divine. Always holy. How blessed are we to be handed an invitation to play?
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”