This is a Lenten Reflection that we aired as part of the S+L Magazine in 2004. These couple of days I’ve been thinking about loss and life, growth and God’s Grace, Mercy and Plan, so since it’s Passion Sunday, I thought it would be good to remember these words.
This morning my son came into our room, upset because something he had built had broken. That little boy used to be me – trying so hard to hold on, grab on, cling on to moments – trying so hard to stay a child forever – to not have to ever change… “It’s ok”, my wife, said to him, “you can fix it. You can re-build it”. “No!” he cried, “it was hard work”. It was hard work.
And so it is… we work so hard to figure out who we are, where we fit in, in this world, and where we belong. We work so hard to figure out the rules but they keep on changing — the world keeps on changing — we keep on changing, no matter how hard we try to stay the same…
“Father, take this cup away from me… but not my will, but yours be done.”
Growing up was full of endings and beginnings: winters and springtimes, leaving home, going to university, finding work, getting married having children… Children who continually take me right back to where I started… Children who continually remind me that I am not perfect, that I need help — that I need God…
“Father, into Your hands I commend my Spirit…”
And every day life is full of mini-struggles: mini-desert experiences, mini-agonies in the garden, mini-crucifixions, mini deaths — deaths that are oh so necessary to bring forth new life.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
And how can we teach our children this? How can we help to make it easier for them? Just when they begin to feel at home, we uproot them by send them to a new school. How can we help them feel safe and at the same time help them accept that change is inevitable — change is necessary…
“It’s ok”, I said, “you needed to put it away anyway.” “But it was hard work!” he said, crying now. “You need to take it apart so you can build new things,” Sheri said.
It’s the taking apart that is so painful, so scary. And I am just now beginning to understand that I am not ever me at any given moment — rather, I am always changing. This is what is hard to teach: that life is change, change is growth, growth is love, love is God, and God… God is life.
“It was hard work,” he said, again and again, crying as we held him. That’s all we could do: help him feel safe — giving him a bit of strength for the journey that is to come.
“It was hard work,” I said, “Come, let’s build a new one” and with that, despite the little death that had just happened a new life was begun…
Every week, Deacon Pedro takes a particular topic apart, not so much to explore or explain the subject to its fullness, but rather to provide insights that will deepen our understanding of the subject. And don’t worry, at the end of the day he always puts the pieces back together. There are no limits to deaconstructing: Write to him and ask any questions about the faith or Church teaching:firstname.lastname@example.org