we sit in living room, seven of us, baby sleeping,
we try to find the silent moment, but it never comes,
young twins whispering "mama" or "daddy" every ten seconds,
so we carry on, talking of lent,
reading devotions, preparing hearts.
i wonder, should we fast from something for lent?
surprised by the affirmations from them,
we give suggestions
what do we fast from?
and witty eldest child remarks,
"let's fast from lent!"
while husband smiles at five glowing faces,
"how about children?"
and we all laugh, for laughter is the key this family uses
to stay close,
make no moment too serious,
we need to feel the joy.
seven year old artist son speaks up,
"we should just be nicer, and think more about each other.
like when i want to play a game with sissy,
instead of asking her to play my game,
i ask her if she wants to pick something to play.
we should fast from not doing that."
we look at his wise, young eyes,
i smile at his beauty, his understanding that is beyond what so many of us
how he would think of this,
i am speechless,
know nothing but gratitude and awe in this moment
i find words, and words find mouth and mouth finds speech...
"selfishness?" i ask
"you think we should fast from selfishness?"
"you know we will fail sometimes josiah, don't you?"
"well of course. we're not perfect, only Jesus, you know that mama.
but we can try and ask God to help us right? "
"right. i think it's a great idea. let's fast from selfishness," and i whisper these words
because seeing understanding in my children always makes tears come, voice quiver.
and the mood is calm, for once, even twin girls can feel it and they cease talking.
God's beauty has come into the room, and settled, and we find ourselves breathing in the moment.
a fleeting moment, but there nonetheless,
and then it moves into that laughter, that expression of joy we cherish in this home
when that artist child, josiah, speaks,
"and anyway, God would be happy if i didn't eat candy for lent,
but i think He might like it more if i try and be nice!"
oh, how i learn to fast from a child,
to love from a child,
i stand amazed at all i find in the eyes, the words of these children
as i whisper prayers, because it's so hard to do
but i am desperate,
Lord, help me put myself behind me.
help me put all others in front. help my eyes to see the wants,
the needs of those around me, that i can fill
instead of filling myself.