“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~Teilhard de Chardin
James and Kenney had a lot of energy to expend, so we went for a walk. I had very little, so I went for a walk and a sit on a log on a small and sandy beach to watch the sun go down.
James skidded his bike to a stop in the sand behind me.
“What do you want in the future?” he asked as he followed my gaze across the pond.My children blow me away with their profound questions that always catch me off-guard.
“This,” I answered. “Right now is good, “I added when he needed more of an explanation. Children, mine at least, seem to be piecing together how everything fits together. Their questions seem to be an attempt to remember who they are and what it’s all about here.
“Hmm,” he thought for a second, imagining the “this” in front of us. “We’d be happy here. But we’d need a house or we’d get cold and wet.” And he rode away to join Kenney on the adjacent beach. They worked furiously for the next 15 minutes scouring the sand for sticks and stones to throw in the water. I’m sure it was the kerplunks and the ripples that kept them going. We humans like the ripples and kerplunks. I guess it makes us feel like we’ve done something with our time.
Me? I was content sitting on my log watching the stillness on my stretch of water as the sun slipped lower every second.
I watched us – me on my beach, them on theirs – both of us living in the present, using energy differently. Both were good. Both were necessary.
For a few days I’ve been thinking about two little girls I’m getting to know at church. One is eight and values fasting. She fasts once a month with her family for two consecutive meals – no food or drink. She’s serene and full of a quiet joy. My other friend is six. She talks to me about meditating with her father. Her mother tells me that she has developed her capacity to experience and enjoy stillness so much since she started. I keep thinking to myself about how strong and capable (physically and spiritually) children are. They are bundles of energy – two kinds, physical and spiritual.
I fast regularly. And I meditate, too. My children may or may not know that. The older ones would be more aware of what I’m doing every day. The younger ones not no much. When did I stop teaching them?
Do we grasp the magnitude of their spirits? Of ours? Of how we come into this world, suddenly clothed with humanness, ready to experience life with these bodies that can override our awareness of the spirit that is eternally us? Two little girls reminded me that it is our task to remember who we are by mastering the way the physical and spiritual come together perfectly to help us experience a fulness of joy.
I used to tell my children that I just happened to be born first – that they were probably much older and wiser than me, but I got the “mother” job as much for me as for them. They always loved that. It brought them to a place of remembering who they are.
Just a thought….
When it was time to go home the boys got on their bikes and rode off, leaving me to catch up at a slower pace. They stopped to climb a fallen tree trunk whose upper limbs lick the water. Its roots are half-exposed and look as though they are warning of an imminent upheaval. But the boys scampered down, and passed me once again as we made our way off the dirt road and headed back towards our house at the end of the road.
I was left contemplating the places where the tree and the water connected, and where at any moment, just one strong storm away, maybe, the tree could be uprooted, plunging it into a watery grave. Then it would be a tree in the water. A tree, nonetheless, but in a new and foreign environment.
I watched my boys pedaling furiously, remembering the little girls, and wondered about helping my children remember who they are more often…to feel those roots and how eternally deep they are.
Sometimes it takes stillness.