Pitter patter the little feet came running from around the corner at the sound of my voice. Being a grandmother is the next best thing to being a mom. While my husband of thirty-five years is always happy to see me, I might think he was after something if he ran to me every time he heard my voice. Experiencing such an enthusiastic display of love and authentic joy really puts a smile on my face and indescribable delight in my heart.
You can’t find this ready to serve at the local grocery store or field fresh from the farmer’s market. It is a pure, generous, free gift, which expects nothing in return. At least at twenty-two months anyway.
As I meet with couples preparing for marriage, I have the unique opportunity to ask them some rather pointed and frank questions within minutes of seeing them. A sort of ‘zero to sixty’ scenario. I don’t do this to embarrass them, but rather to get to know them, their relationship and intentions, in a moderately short period of time. This can be quite telling.
To my question about their relationship with God, I get varied and interesting answers. The query isn’t about how they practice their Catholic faith, but rather to describe their relationship with the God of the Universe, if there is a relationship. The most often used reply goes something like this, “It could be better.” They will likely describe the relationship as more of a distant uncle or grandfather, one they go to only in need.
It saddens me to hear this so many times. I wonder where we have failed over the decades and generations to form strong bonds between the sons and daughters and their heavenly Father. What must we do differently? I dare say it is imperative that we do something starting with fostering that critical relationship ourselves.
Ask any parent or grandparent what some of the most painful times in our lives might be, and I assure you the loss of the parent-child relationship ranks pretty high. There are few pains greater or harder to understand. We were made for relationship and the parent bond should be stronger than steel and unbreakable even under extreme duress.
A month ago when our grand-daughter was going through the weird-shy stage toddlers go through, it was such heartbreak to have her avoid contact with me. The week earlier, we were best buddies, and out of nowhere, pariah! While I knew this was normal and short-lived, it didn’t do much to reduce the rejection hurt factor.
All this has caused me to ponder more about our relationship with God. If on a human level I can know the agony of separation from the ones I love, how much more so for God who thought us into existence, sent His beloved Son Jesus Christ to prove His love for us, and continues to reach out despite rejection by his wayward children. We choose lesser things to distract us, occupy our time, and place God far away in the stratosphere so He can’t stick His nose in our business. I can’t help but think it is because we don’t really know Him, that we reject Him so easily. God amazingly doesn’t return the favor.
His love, so generous and unmeasured, is always seeking to invite us back home to the safety, love, and mercy of His Heart. Perhaps He see us as little toddlers in the weird-shy stage, with dirty pants, and stubborn wills, playing in the dumpster, all the while boasting of our artificial happiness without Him. I really can’t see it any other way as a human. This I can understand, when I want nothing more than to soothe, cleanse, engage and correct a toddler. My heart yearns to make things better, show him or her a better way, a more perfect source of joy and happiness. As a fallen, sinful human it would be way too easy to terminate a hard-hearted, pompous fool, who continually makes folly of your invitation, your Being, and motives.
Good thing we aren’t God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Is 55:8).
I’ve been granted, little by little, a more patient and generous heart. I realize that all I can do is be unafraid to share my relationship with God and the generous nature in which He reaches out and is abundantly merciful and kind to all His children.
If you fall into the category of being ready to have a deeper relationship with God or to begin one for the first or hundredth time, you need only respond to the open invitation that is calling you. God, show me your love, for I desire to know you.