I cannot begin to decide which joy is greater, his ability to finally walk towards us and bring our sixteen month wait to a euphoric end or his delighted squeals of recognition of his aunts. The little occupant in the crib is finally ready for his share of misgivings, misfortunes, mistrusts and mistakes; life.
His love remains cosmic, screaming at our departure, chuckling his welcome at our entry. Sometimes will be the penetrative stare that is almost ethereal in its stillness, what one Laura S. Cunningham called searching each other's souls in an October 2002 Readers Digest, as he tries to look us down; this broken by a gum toothed smile that glosses over the seriousness experienced seconds before. I am reminded of his earlier grasp at our fingers and not letting go and secretly hope that this is the way he is going to grab opportunities in his life; with determination. I pray too that when adversities came his way, he will not forsake his dreams and hopes.
Over a year ago we received his cataclysmic appearance with cautious apprehension and joy. Little did we know what palpitations he would invoke in our hearts as his curious nature drove him under the seats and up the stairs. Nothing would have prepared us for the painful yanks to our ears as he tried to disengage the earrings nor the drools on our suits. I however hoped that he would approach life with caution in the same way he tentatively reached to feel our eyes because in reality not all that glitters is gold; for sometimes beneath the veneer of goodness lurks dark shadows of evil.
With time was the acceptance to go down on our knees and be on his playful terms if we wanted a tinkle of his delightful laughter. His restless exuberance sometimes left us hot and flushed and these too we hoped were normal baby-play-time happenings and not shock of the biological kind. There were his teary demands that he be included in our chillied menus as he refused to have anything to do with his baby food; this we sometimes acquiesced, if only to teach him his first lessons about asking for the wrong things in life. In a rush to spoil him were the toys, most of which were clearly out of scope for his tender age; this he communicated to us in the disinterested way he handled them, preferring instead to engage in a determined belly crawl. Daddy's chest would be repeatedly thumped, as mum was given notably special smiles.
God ensures that relationships are formed quiet early, this too varying in intensity according to how much contact one has had with the toddler. The house help will be kept within his visual radar but saved for later. The visiting relatives and friends will be given as much attention as they have given him. If they have been frequent then they will be rewarded with a smile or sullenly stared at if they are first time callers. I wondered how he remained so young yet was able to teach us the invaluable relationship between committed frequency and love.
It would serve us well to learn this about worship, that those that honor their God continuously with worship and with the knowledge that we cannot serve two masters at a time as is explained in Mathew 6:24, also make it easier to be blessed.
The way God rewards well those that give Him their attention, is also the that mother gets the best smiles and attention; her title remaining the first real name that formulates his tiny mouth. This is because she provides nourishment, warmth and first love. Even in the hands of a minder, a mother's arrival will be noted by the little one who seems helpless but who really knows a lot more than we credit him for. Is it not interesting how we can learn about God from the unlikeliest of sources- a beginner at life?
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.