Sunday, March 18, 2012

One More Minute...

Yesterday, I attended a soul care retreat for women. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In fact, I was very hesitant to attend and almost backed out at the last minute, thinking, "This is the only week-end I've had or will have without a sport event for the boys. I'm not sure if I want to spend it inside with a bunch of women all day." But, I'd made a commitment to a friend and so I went. When we arrived and were given instructions my heart sank. We were spending an hour and half in the morning and two hours in the afternoon in silent meditation. "What?!!?!" I thought, "Ugh!"

During the morning I decided to go sit by a small "pond" in the middle of a busy part of the center of town (which was across the street from the church the event was being held at). I found a bench, wiped the water off that was coating the surface, and settled myself to watch a couple ducks swimming around in the water. I was infatuated with the ducks, thinking about the two that have visited my covered pool the past three mornings. As I sat there, some events unfolded that touched my heart. After a half hour I walked back to the church, pulled my journal out, and recorded what I had just observed. Here is what I wrote:

As I sat by the water, with traffic going by unnoticed, listening to the birds chirping, squirrels scampering, and two mallards floating around, splashing in the water, a man and his young daughter (probably around 18 months old) walked onto the little bridge. The ducks swam towards them and the little girl giggled with delight, all the while repeating, "Ducks, ducks. Come here ducks."

The father stood patiently, letting his daughter enjoy the experience - one that brought such joy to her. When it was time to go, the father quietly and gently said, "OK, it's time to go. Let's go see Mom." He picked the little girl up and started walking away. The girl kept saying, "No, see ducks. See ducks!"

The father gently set her back down and said, "We'll stay one more minute, then we need to go." The girl walked back to the bridge to get a better view of the ducks. As she was watching and calling the ducks they swam under the bridge. She had no idea where they went. The father gently said, "Look over here, they're on the other side now." She turned and watched them a few seconds longer. The father then led her away - she was ready to go - there was no kicking and screaming this time.

Isn't that how it is with God? Sometimes we feel a prodding to go, move on. But we say, "Not yet, can I have a little more time? I'm not quite ready." He quietly and patiently waits for us - knowing we may need just a little more time. And then he leads us on down the road of life...

I was going to say every once in a while he'll take us kicking and screaming - but then I thought, "I'm not sure about that. He always gives us free choice..."

A little while later, as I reread what I wrote, my throat caught when I got to "not yet, can I have a little more time?" I thought of Austin and that is what I want to say to God - "not yet, can I have a little more time with Austin?" But I can't.

A few hours later, when I was home, taking a walk, reflecting once again on the scene I had watched unfold at the pond, another thought/image came to mind.... I could see Jesus reaching out to Austin, as he lay on the stretcher, saying, "Come on bud, it's time to go." And I could see Austin looking in awe, at the light and beauty of Heaven and hear him say, "Man... this is awesome!"; then, with a sparkle in his eye and a huge smile on his face, reach out and join Jesus... heading to Heaven!

I am so very thankful I decided not to cancel, as I received a beautiful gift yesterday, watching a father and his daughter.

(I also know, for a fact, that I could never be a monk! Long stretches of quiet and me are not synonymous... usually.)

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