June 6, 2008

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Let your worries go, trust God knows what’s best for you

Patti Lamb(Editor’s note: This week, we begin a new monthly column, “It’s All Good,” by Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield.)

As usual, we were running late the other day so I told my 3-year-old son, Henry, to put his shoes on by himself while I packed the diaper bag for him and his sister, Margaret.

It was challenging, but eventually he got the job done. After we had been at his little friend’s birthday party for more than two hours, another parent pointed out that my son’s shoes were on the wrong feet and took the opportunity to tease me.

“Hey,” I said, “he’s a big boy now and he’s got to learn to start taking care of himself—shoes and all.”

Later, I started thinking about what I had said, and I felt like a hypocrite. I’m now in my 30s, yet I still phone my parents regularly to recount the day, inquire as to how they are faring and request their prayers.

There is no magical age at which our obligation or affinity toward our children ends. There is no interval at which they become self-sufficient. I still rely on my folks now as much as I ever did. My need to lean does not change; I suppose it’s only my age that changes.

Last night, my son hobbled to his dad in tears after taking a tumble.

“Daddy, kiss it,” he begged. So his dad leaned down and kissed his knee.

Magically, as if my husband had applied some heavenly ointment, my son pulled himself together, mustered up a smile and said, “Thanks, Daddy. Now it’s all better.” Off he went to play.

My son’s little knee was bleeding. I knew it had to hurt. But a kiss and some confident reassurance made it better.

That was all it took. It made me think: Maybe that’s how God would envision us to be. If only we could submit our petitions to him, then let our worries go and begin to trust that he knows what’s best for us.

A Bible passage came to mind. “Unless you become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).

That brought me to the thought of faith—believing in that which is unseen.

As children, we were unknowingly introduced to “faith” by our parents. If Mom or Dad said it was going to be OK, then it was. Period.

The concept of faith took root when we were small. We thought our parents had magical powers when really it was a kiss and the certainty that everything would turn out just fine.

To them, a little cut was just that—a cut. Apply some tender loving care and a bandage, and it’s all good. But to us, they were the ultimate. I remember thinking to myself as a child, “How do they do that?”

How much more must it be with our heavenly Father, the ultimate parent. Despite our hopes or doubts, he knows what’s best for us, and we need to learn to trust.

It seems silly to ask God to kiss away our “ouches,” but that is what we must do.

And then we’ve got to move forward with the steadfast spirit and determination that he will do just that. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you” (Ps 55:22).

This year, as Father’s Day draws near, I’m hoping we all can remember to celebrate both our earthly father and our heavenly Father. †

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