Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Deep in the Heart of My Son
As a parent, I often wonder what kind of Spiritual Formation my children (5,4, and 1) are actually experiencing. Their words often don't tell me much. Many of their words are spent experimenting with their world; trying out phrases for the sound of them, or trying out their effects on others around them. The kind of deep reflections and truths-from-the-heart that a parent longs to hear feel hard to come by.
Last night, I had a glimpse.
Lately, at night, my 5-yr-old, who is very extroverted and has ALWAYS hated going to bed, has been saying how he doesn't like to sleep because he is scared. I have been someone skeptical of this though never outright calling it false. Instead, I have tried to minimally comfort him. I figured he was saying that because he knew it stopped me in my tracks and made me stick around and do more things for him before leaving his room.
Last night he wasn't complaining about fear, but I know he was dealing with it.
I was laying at the end of his bed as he tried to go to sleep when I heard (very faintly, whispered):
"God is with me."
He rolled over, eyes open, sucking his thumb.... Then, a minute later, I heard:
"God is stronger than anything."
I was stunned. These were things I had taught him to pray if he ever felt afraid, but I had no idea he actually prayed them. Another minute went by, when he thrust his hand in the air from the laying-down position and whispered forcefully:
"In the name of Jesus, I will not be afraid!"
I was so proud of him and so glad to see him living his faith out with his own heart.
As a parent, I really want to ask him about this, but as an amateur spiritual director, I know these are precious words. Words spoken in private (forgetting I was in the room) between him and his heavenly Father. He needs those words to stay warm in the oven of his heart. The private verification of faith and prayers met by the holy presence of God.
The desert fathers talked of "keeping the oven doors of your heart shut," and not letting them open for everyone around. We need these moments so that our rich and living faith can grow with God privately, dearly, nearly to us.
I'm so glad my son is getting that even now. Praise the Lord.
Posted by Anglican Student US at 10:28 PM