i am such an independence junkie. i value my self-sufficiency to a fault. while there are some stengths in this, there are also some obvious negative aspects, as well. like being able to rely on others. or learn with others. or play well with others. basically, anything that has to do with others. so often, the easy route for me is just doing the task at hand by myself, and i too often choose that route.
this personality trait certainly applies to my faith, as well. as much as i'd like to think it doesn't, i have to admit that my independence is a stumbling block in my relationship with God. i mean, why ask God for help when i can easily do it myself? my humanity and self-absorption can easily cloud my judgment and get me thinking this way, if not consciously, then certainly in the recesses of my mind and in my behavior.
which is why i appreciate cade. caedmon is my four-year old. he didn't inherit my independence. he likes to be close to others and to cuddle. he doesn't mind being alone, but seems to be most comfortable in relationship. and then there's this thing he does that really caught my attention.
nearly everytime he says something to me, he ends the declaration with the short question, "right dad?" like this:
you like orange, right dad?
squinkies are so cool, right dad?
you have a big belly, right dad?
and so on. it can get a bit annoying after awhile, and yet i also find it endearing and have been really cherishing it because i assume its a phase he's going through. but it stopped me in my tracks the other day when i suddenly found myself asking this question:
when's the last time i said, "right dad?" to my heavenly father?
ouch. as always, my children teach me about God, and i am no longer the wise parent dispensing wisdom, but the one who follows the example of my children who seem to know more about God instinctively than i do after countless hours of study and reading.
my independence, i'm afraid, keeps me from asking that very important question. "right, Dad?"
it's such a simple little phrase. it simply requires a short affirmation in response, and as such is a kind of conversational tool. asking that question is a way of saying, 'we're in conversation; we're in dialogue; we are sharing in this moment and i am trusting you to affirm me when i'm right and correct me when i'm wrong.' it's like caedmon is saying, "i need you to help me make sense of this world; to tell me when i've got it right or wrong, because i'm not always completely sure. more than anything, i just want to know that you're listening and you're there and present with me."
okay, he probably doesn't realize that he's saying all that, but in a way he is. and it's what i probably ought to be saying to God, instead of my more typical: "oh, hey God. what's up? yeah i'm doing fine. could you help so-and-so and do this or that? thanks. i'll check in again tomorrow. i know you must be busy. alright, peace out. amen."
i need to spend a little more time in conversation, and a great deal more time in the context of a relationship. right, Dad? i need to just bask in the comfort of knowing that God is my daddy, and is there to love and hold and encourage me. i need to get my self out of my own headspace sometimes, and recognize the One who is Love, who is grace-full, who is mercy, who is compassion, and who is my only hope. i need it to become second nature to speak more like this:
i am your beloved, right Dad?
your creation is so cool, right Dad?
you have a big heart - big enough for all of us - right, Dad?
think how much that would delight our Daddy.