Friday, February 11, 2005

Figuring out God

I grew up in an aubisve and brutal home,not knowing much of the normal love a child should feel. Consequetnly, I didn't understand God. I saw Him as punitive. I thought if I was perfect enough and different enough from my parent, I might earn His respect, if not his affection. So I wonder a lot what God is like. Is He nice? Is He really mean enough to kill children by bears for making of His prophet's bald head? Does He care that the world is going to Hell? Where is He?

My relationship with Him as an active member of the churchhas often been tenuous and troubled, punctuated by a few rare episodes of peace. I was a human doing, working hard to get blessings. A few years ago, a friend described God as a "kick-back kind of guy, who can laugh at a joke." God smiling, wow, what a concept.

But last summer, something happened at our house that made me maybe understand Him just alittle. I love my grandchildren, but Maxwell is special. Age five, blue eyes, blond hair, chubby little cheeks, he is the apple of my eye. I love him unconditionally.

We had Camp Grandma at our house for a week, with all the "grands." The older boys bought silly string with their own money. After a long day of fast food and the movies and the park, they were out chasing each other all over with it. Maxwell demanded that I make them give him some. When I refused, saying they bought it themselves, he completely lost his dignity, throwing himself down on the floor, kicking and screaming.

I decided to put this stinky upset little boy in the tub. It took my 6'4" husband, my daughter, and me to drag him down the hall, peel off those peed-in Levis and filthy shirt, and plop him in the bubble bath. He was screaming like a banshee the whole time, "I want silly string!"

We got him undressed and in the warm water with toys and he hiccupped and too a long breath and changed his mood. By the time his bath was over, he was clean and warm and calm and ran outside cheerfully in his pj's to play with the other kids on the tramp.

Through it all we never yelled, we never hit him, we were completely gentle in our movements, and loving. We laughed and smiled and gave him hugs, but we never gave him the silly string.

It struck me as I watched himrunout on the grass in the twilight that maybe God loves me that much. Maybe He smiles and says, "no you can't have that" but He's not mad. He still thinks I'm adorable and worthwhile when I'm all dirty and unattractive and pee my pants and want that silly string bad enough to die for it.

I'm sure my quest to figure out God will take the rest of my life, but it's getting better. Maybe He does smile sometimes.


Blogger Chris Young said...

You sound like the kind of caring parents that every family needs. I'm impressed with your gentleness.

Christopher Young

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne, That is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing it. I'm just sorry it took me so long to find it. I am enjoying this blog, and am glad you decided to post here.


7:58 PM  

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