Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pondering Our Gift

I don't generally get ponderous on this blog, but today I shall. This evening I printed out a book of all the blog entries currently recorded here, for Tama Bonnie (her Christmas wish). While reviewing everything I've written, and not written, some thoughts come to mind.

There are times when I haven't written too much about what is new on the Kwamai scene. I believe this stems mostly from the sentiment of "if you can't say anything nice...." All children go through their growing stages and pains, and Kwamai has had his share of them in the last year. But tonight I'm thinking about this reality. At my School of Community today we talked about how every person we encounter is a way that we meet Christ. And this does not just (or even primarily) mean the happy, pleasant encounters. Sometimes we meet Christ in His distressing disguise in others, sometimes we experience a pain and longing in our own hearts in difficult encounters and through this we find Christ's agony, His presence, His longing. Raising any child is, without a doubt, a job meant to bring parents closer to Christ. (We think parenting is all about forming our children to be holy, but think again! Really it is about teaching parents to die to themselves!) Raising Kwamai has been for me thus far an immeasurable gift. I am me, I am made a certain way, I have my comfort zones. Kwamai is Other. Very Other. He draws me out and calls me, requires me, to grow, to change, to challenge myself, in the same way a very large hill challenges a jogger to build endurance, develop lung and muscle capacity, to get strong.

I need sometimes to pause and realize this. I sometimes live as if he is not a hill, but a level path, and then I wonder, grumpily, why I am using up all my energy. Or to make the analogy better, I waste energy meant to be used for my hill workout on things lesser in importance. I take as my inspiration my sister-in-law (hi, Leyla) who can breeze up huge hills with amazing speed and seems to find it nothing but exhilarating. There is something exhilarating about expending one's energies like that. But in my experience at least, the exhilaration comes only after the gradual build up of strength. Attitude is everything.

So, I behold the face of Christ in Kwamai, my joy-bomb of a little boy whose cues I often don't catch, whose heart-language is not my native one, whose natural inclinations and needs are so different from my own. God has entrusted this little soul to me to mother. I have to trust that He knew what He was doing in arranging our lives as they are. And I ask God's mercy as I wheeze up the hill.

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