Last night my 4 year old comes into the kitchen where I am making lunches for school the next day. He pulls a stool over to where I am standing, asks if he can help me. I want to tell him no, I’m trying to get this done as quickly as possible. I’m tired, and would rather be on the couch, by the Christmas tree, not in this kitchen with a sink full of dirty dishes.
But I stop myself, here I go again with these damaging thoughts, that somewhere else would be better. That somewhere else would have more joy, more inspiration, more God. I’m learning to challenge this thought with the truth — where I am is exactly where I need to be, because God, and all of his goodness, is not somewhere else but right where I am.
So I lift his little body onto the counter beside me, he smiles wide with excitement. I pass him the carrots, he counts out three and stacks them in his lunchbox, another three in his brother’s. I chop the melon and he drops the pieces in one by one. It’s sweet to watch him, it’s sweet to be with him. Suddenly, I am content. And only because I woke up and noticed, I am with God and he wants to overwhelm me with love if only I would let go of my resistance, and welcome him. He can teach me in any and every moment, even as I kneel down on my grimy floors and shove more food into an already overflowing compost. I am right where I need to be.
I think of Mary, who was told she was carrying the long awaited Emmanuel in her womb. What an incredible gift! But I’m sure she had her doubts, her hesitations. I’m to walk around, with a growing belly, while the rest of my village looks on with disdain, with judgements, with scorn?! I’m supposed to parent God himself?! And then, when it is time to birth him, the very Son of God, she’s stuck in an uncomfortable manger surrounded by animals, and we all know the smell would be horrendous. But was there a better place for her? Could she have been any closer to the heart of God? Where she was, God was. She only needed to accept this, and she would become aware of his presence, his light, his love. Imagine if she chose to stay bitter, angry, envious. What amazing things she would have missed.
This is my challenge to all of us this season. Can we let go of those lies that we tell ourselves, that some other place would be more full of God? Can we let go of our desire to be somewhere else, when what we need is to just wake up to the moment that we are actually in? We carry Christ in us just as Mary did. And God is working in us, always, planting seeds that will grow in time. With hope, and trust, we wait. Not wishing we were three, five, ten steps ahead of where we are. But celebrating that where we are, right now, is an invitation to more of God.
Come, child. Breathe me in. Don’t hold back. This is what you were created for, to become part of me, and for me to become part of you. Let my thoughts become your thoughts. Let my heart become yours. Let my love grow deep into your being. Come, child. I want to be with you right now.