August 10, 2020

I am writing this meditation and keep getting interrupted by FaceTime calls from my youngest granddaughter, 3-year-old Marie-Hélène. She just figured out how to call me on FaceTime yesterday, and we’ve talked twice yesterday and twice today, so far. She’s calling because she and her 6-year-old sister, Anne-Sophie, are going to come on a vacation to our house, and the excitement is apparently palpable.  As soon as I get off the phone with her, Anne-Sophie calls me on WhatsApp. I’m not sure that I even knew how to use a phone when I was 3. Getting my little index finger into the correct number openings on the rotary dial seven consecutive times and spinning it all the way around clockwise until it stopped would have been quite a challenge.  

What I planned to write about was how we are all on the same boat, in this very difficult time, and instead, what comes to mind is the anticipatory delight of two little girls who are counting down the days until their vacation. Rod and I have lots of fun things planned, including at least one trip to the Shenandoah River to splash and explore in the shallow pools at Seven Bends State Park, a visit to Suzanne’s Studio (masked and seated at a socially-distanced table), time slipping and sliding in our brand-new, inflatable Alphabet Fountain Wading Pool, but perhaps the biggest attraction is playing with Kiko, our 11-year-old border collie. 

Their anticipation of the visit, and the fact that they feel free to call me brings tears to my eyes. These are tears of delight, tears of love, and I think even deeper than those tears are tears of longing. Part of the longing is to spend time with them. Part of the longing is much bigger and deeper. I wish I had that much desire to stop everything to be with God.

So here I am, pastor, spiritual director, in tears about the simple desire of two little girls, about their innocence and unrestrained anticipation and excitement in the midst of this season. Their tender and trusting hearts, their openness, their total absence of any inhibitions to connect with me witness to that deepest desire I have to feel as free and as comfortable and as un-encumbered by all the things I “need” to do, rather than the thing that is most important. In this moment and in every moment, I want to feel as free to be with the One who is love, accessible by nothing more than a breath.   

And a little child will lead them. Thanks, girls, for showing me the way today. ~ Anne

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