Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nose to nose

My child is the cutest child on the face of God's green earth.

I know pretty much everyone thinks this about their own child and has no hesitation saying it to others. I know this can get annoying for others to listen to or see countless pictures of said baby on Facebook. But the reality is, someone's child has to be the cutest. It just so happens that my child is that child (with the possible exception of my mother's youngest child).

It's like when you're a celebrity and people are always telling you that they are your biggest fan (this drives me nuts. I can't go anywhere anymore). Well, it probably feels like that to those fans, but even though most of them are wrong, one of them is right! One of them is the biggest fan. Just like my child is the cutest child.

Out of all the cute things he does though, there is one that just melts my heart far and above the others. Sometimes, when I have him on my hip and I am focused on something else, he will lean over gently and put his face right in front of my face, real close, and smile his sweet, pure smile. "Look at me, Dada! Pay attention to me, love me!" ( He can't speak yet, but this is what he is saying).

It really is something remarkable, to know that my attention, my love means so much to another. To be able to make my son happy from my mere presence and attention.

As I thought about this more, it brought to mind a few different and conflicting metaphors for my relationship with God.

In one metaphor, I am the baby and God is the father. Sometimes I feel like God's attention is far from me. I trust in his near presence but it doesn't feel like his loving eye is on me. It's like he is holding me but looking at something else. I know he is there in my head, but my heart isn't connected to that presence. I suppose I should be satisfied with knowing God is near but my heart longs for more. I want to be desired by God, to feel God's eyes looking on me with love and delight. I want to make God smile.

In the other metaphor, God is the baby and I am the father. I have the most precious thing in the world right in front of me, ready to deliver joy and delight into my life, and yet, I am looking at something else, focused on something else. It's not that I am completely neglecting God; I am keeping him right there next to me, but I am not engaging with God. I am not focused on God's desires. And yet, God is leaning over, trying to get my attention. Not even in an angry or whiny way, but in a loving, sweet way, God is putting his face in front of me and saying, "What could be more important? What could bring you more joy?"

I wonder which metaphor describes my relationship with God more. I wonder why it is so difficult to feel God's loving gaze sometimes. I wonder why I allow myself to become distracted with trivialities when the greatest joy I've ever known is unceasingly, gently, lovingly, placing himself nose to nose with me everyday.

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