I have the mental capacity of a preschooler. This may come as a shock to those of you who knew me in my glory days of brainhood. You know, those days of late nights, straight A’s, Bachelor’s degrees, Deans Lists…The Thinking Times. Now, I’m a mother. I have no use for such things. My children have no use for such things. They do not care if I could write curriculum, prattle on about Early American History, or write music with triads. They want dinner. NOW.
Are you worried for my spiritual state? You shouldn’t be. Because though my brain is mush, the Lord is actually able to reach me much better in my current state than He could while I was cramming for exams. While I was doing “that thinking thing”. So much thinking. When you are surrounded by children, the Lord’s truths are obvious and brilliant and clear. Meditation isn’t necessary to feel His presence. You are bombarded by it like your baby’s foot to your head at 6 in the morning: “HEY. I’m HERE.” And it’s beautiful.
I realized that while these days I faint at the prospect of reading long passages from the Writings, what I am teaching my children about being decent humans, instead of gremlins, is a pretty good summary of what our adult relationship with the Lord should be like: Someone else is taking care of me. I have to listen carefully and follow directions. Ask for help nicely, and I’ll get it. Say “thank you”.
Now of course, it’s still important to keep up trying to read those long passages that make my knees quiver, but I also have in the back of my mind an image of a “grown up” patting me on the back saying, “Don’t worry, you’ll understand when you’re older…” The fog will lift one of these days. In the meantime, my children and my preschool students continue to pelt me with spiritual punches to the face.
My child tells me after the passing of my grandfather: “People go to heaven when they get dead. That’s the real life of this life.” Whoa. You’re right, Three Year Old. That really is what’s real isn’t it? What we are living now is a mere shadow of a life we have yet to live. A life more exquisite, more meaningful. Yes, I will get you more goldfish.
A preschool student in the middle of worship asks: “I like dinosaurs. Did the Lord send something to kill the dinosaurs?” Boy. I might need another cup of coffee to handle this question of the Lord’s power and His guidance through Divine Providence. Because what you are really asking is “Why is something I love not here, and what part did the Lord play in that?” Now please, keep your hands to yourself during worship, and no silly voices during the prayer…
I hear my children talking in the other room and eventually they call out to me: “Mommy! We both choose good. We both want to go to heaven.” Or the other day in the car: “Mommy. We decided to follow the Ten Commandments.” Phew. Parenting. Done. Yeah, it really does need to be my choice, huh? But it can be an easy one.
So perhaps you are a parent too and feel like you’re in a fog most days. Maybe you’re worried that with a religion that focuses a lot on our understanding, a parent of young children is doomed. But the Lord is very accommodating. He is (as we used to say when I was still thinking and getting a degree in New Church Education) “The Master Teacher”. He has an I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) for each one of us. The Lord will reach us even if our brains are mush. For who else are closer to the Lord than the children in our care? If we listen to them, we can hear His voice.