"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you."
-Philippians 4:9

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Intimate Relationship

I've been struggling with how to word this post for over a week now. Do I present the conversation and just leave you to draw your own conclusions? Do I elaborate on all of the ponderings of my heart that have occurred since this conversation? Is this even as mind-blowing to anyone else?

Because it is mind-blowing to me. In an utterly simple, natural, deeply intimate moment, I was gripped to the core of my being. By the faith of a child. Could it be so truly simple? Yes. It is. And in our adulthood and desire for knowledge and rightness we cloud and complicate the clear simplicity. And we lose so much because of it. We gain prestige, propriety, position... and we lose intimacy.

Let me share the short, sweet conversation with you. It happened as our family was sitting down to eat dinner together. Long ago, we gave up the standard "join hands 'round the table to give thanks before we partake;" not because we aren't thankful, but because it had been reduced to a religious act with little real meaning. Nobody really wanted to be the one called out to come up with the right words to say and sound all spiritual. Our gratitude didn't necessitate a formalized expression at a given moment and, in fact, that formalization is really difficult when you're wrestling four kids, two adults, a dog that's tall enough to try to eat off your plate as you bow your heads and close your eyes... so we lost the ritual that didn't work for us. Every now and then, one of the kids will ask to pray at that moment and we readily agree. Because we encourage them to talk to God anytime and anywhere they so choose; it is a relationship, after all, not a ritual. It doesn't require well-planned words or eloquent phrases voiced or written at designated points in time. That's what I believe. But it's hard to remember sometimes when you're afraid of seeming foolish (or unspiritual among those who do practice this ritual) or when you are asked to voice someone else's prayer and don't want to mess it up. See what I mean? We complicate simple communication.

This time was so simple, though, that it took my breath away. Nobody asked for a moment of prayer together. One of my kids just prayed. Without everyone having to stop and participate. Just like he was having a conversation with someone who was *right there* and who was intimately involved in our dinner service. I generally fix portioned plates at the kitchen counter and then place them on the table as there is little room for large dishes of food once all of us gather around to eat. As I placed the plate in front of Michael (my 7 year old), he looked up at me and said, "Thanks, Mom." Then, as he dug in his fork to gather his first bite, he very naturally said, "And thanks, God. It looks good."

Simple. Natural. Intimate.

3 comments:

  1. oh my GOODNESS ...THANK YOU for sharing this.
    It IS that easy. What you described is exactly why I have chosen to not pray at mealtime. I want my children to have a heart filled with thanksgiving and have that spill over WHENEVER it may... not to just spew out a ritual prayer.
    This intimacy has been on my heart ... this RELATIONSHIP. It is a relationship. Nothing ritual about it. None of the "if you are saved then you should ____". Rather, if you have a relationship with the Father... things will naturally turn a certain way for you. There are no steps in my mind that one must follow. We either KNOW Him or we don't.
    I know this seems really random ...lol I can't seem to get it all out.

    Simple. Natural. Intimate.
    because He IS here....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love it. Totally right on. I agree with both you and Micah(imagine that. lol). Michael's prayer shows that he has the that right idea, without the forced ritual. I love the simpleness of that childlike faith.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This made my heart smile! Love it!

    I had a similar moment recently and I still get teary eyed thinking of it.

    ReplyDelete