I see in my son what I feel in my soul. I see him running to his toys when I try to pick him up for dinner. We’re already late because our special picnic in the park got a dash of toddler preference and became a mad dash home. He’s very hungry and has been telling me that for ten minutes, but Daddy and I are salvaging our park disaster.
Augustine is still screaming in the octave that only toddlers can hit because I’m not going feed him until he’s in his highchair, with his bib on and that takes a few extra moments. I have a piece of the lamb roast in my hand to give him as I try to put him in his chair, but he’s clinging to his trucks and giant pink puppy, roaring and twisting away as I try to reach his mouth or hand to give him he lamb as he continues to make the sign for hunger. He’s in complete meltdown down as I try to put his squirmy, toddler legs through the holes in his highchair. Little fists pumping and body twisty away. I finally set the plate of food before him but the panic escalated and he’s lost in his feelings, beyond my reach.
His hunger is now so great that even the usual cues–his highchair; the food that is cut and cooked to just the right temperature and angle– THE FOOD HE IS SCREAMIBG FOR!!–aren’t being received. They are being thrown to the floor.
Thrown food is an automatic time out, so for two minutes, Ted and I picked it all up and reset his plate while Augustine cried, confused and hurt in his crib. And then we did it all over again but this time, Augustine noticed the food and sat quietly and ate.
I see me trying to get for myself the good things I think I need when I don’t see God On Demand meeting the particular desire in a way I asked for or can understand.
If Augustine would have eaten his dinner in the park, an unusual thing without his normal meal clues, he would not have felt as much hunger as he did. If he had not run away from me when I tried to pick him up; if he had not clung to the toys he was chewing on or distract himself by playing with his books; if he had patiently let me strap him into his chair; if he had trusted that we, his parents, always feed him and see his needs and work to address them–even when he doesn’t understand why it’s taking so long or why he must follow certain boundaries–if he had done these things he would have eaten so much sooner. His hunger would have (deliciously) been met.
How many times must I act like my son? How many times have I tried to stuff my face with lesser things than patiently trust that God is who he tells me he is and that he will meet me in my need. I see in my son what I feel in my soul–and it is not well.
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