Please be gentle on me, okay?
First, here’s a flower. It showed up on my walkway and I had to take a picture of something so tiny I nearly missed it, so perfect, and gone so soon.
Secondly, about a week ago, Colleen Spiro had a post on her weblog about letting God love us. If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll remember a little fracas in the comments box where everyone tried to insist that I can’t prevent God from loving me and I kept saying that this was exactly what I’d been trying to do. Well, Colleen gets it. So there. 🙂
Anyhow, part of what she wrote was this:
The priest directing the retreat told of how a woman once came to him, a little concerned about her “after Communion prayer.” She said she didn’t know if she was doing it right because she wasn’t using any eloquent or “holy-sounding” words. In fact, she wasn’t using any words at all. She told the priest that after she received the Eucharist, she would just sit there, and let Jesus love her.
I figured I’d try it, because it sounded just right.
Mass last Sunday was rough. Kiddo#4 was fussy and active and overdue for a nap. By the time Communion came, I was out of patience, out of energy, out of everything. I was standing in the foyer (hoping the baby wouldn’t disturb anyone) holding the baby while swaying, and I tried to imagine letting God hold me the same way: me being annoying and grouchy and him just soothing me. Sounds good, except I couldn’t get my head there.
I also tried to picture Jesus showing me to God the Father and saying, “Look what I brought you,” but that didn’t hold. I kept wanting to show God all the ways I’m broken and filthy, and I felt a little bit scolded: let God figure out how he feels about you.
And then I had that flower in my head, like the one above but with its petals more pointed and outlined with black. Jesus, as a twelve year old boy, lying on his stomach in a field, lifting a tuft of grass and exclaiming to God the Father, “Look! Look what I made, and I hid it here.”
And Jesus, admiring what he’d made, this tiny and perfect flower just where he’d put it, and the Father examining it and noting all the little parts of this flower, and the Spirit coming to explore it too, loving it and infusing it with beauty.
I shivered with the thought that they’d pick the flower off its slender stem, but instead they left it there, left it to grow where it belonged, where they wanted it, where they thought it could be beautiful.
The Communion hymn ended and the priest began the final blessing, and I looked up, shaken. The baby had fallen asleep.
It’s a hard thing to do. It’s hard to write about. It was a vulnerable, worried feeling. But it was good.