One of the questions my spiritual director often asks is “How is Caleb spiritually directing you recently?” This comes from a firm belief that children and toddlers can often be closer to the Spirit and God than we are (except for when they’re screaming and throwing tantrums and crying endlessly…), and that we should take some of our cues from them.
As is often the case with spiritual direction, I shared a story with him about Caleb that I had thought about before, but it wasn’t until I was sharing it in this context that I realized its deeper meaning.
Caleb’s cousin, Samuel, had been with us for a long weekend last month, and one of the things that Samuel loved to do was grab your hand, and say, “Play? Play? Play?” It was super cute, and after seeing that for awhile, Caleb has picked it up.
So what has happened quite a few times over the past couple weeks, is that I’ll be downstairs on the couch, doing something on my phone or computer, and Caleb will be happily playing by himself, but then he’ll come over, grab my hand, and say “Play? Play? Play?” There have been a few times that I’ve tried to squat down, or get on my knees, but that clearly isn’t good enough. He’ll just keep pulling my hand closer to the floor, saying, “Play? Play? Play!”
It isn’t until my butt is firmly on the ground, and we are sitting there together, that he then starts to play and hand me Legos.
When I shared that story, my spiritual director said, “Oh my. Can it get any more obvious that God speaks to you through your son?!”
That’s the story I should have included in my sermon from last week about Moses and the burning bush. I focused on Rabbi Lawrence Kushner’s statement about the story that “There is another world, right here within this one, whenever we pay attention.” His point was that Moses had to sit still long enough to see that the bush wasn’t being burned up. It was a test from God to see that Moses could pay attention for that long.
This is something I pretty much suck at. I’m not good at being patient. I’m not good at paying attention and being still. And maybe Caleb knows that…and so he has taken it upon himself to try and get me out of my normal mode of operating, and to get me to just sit down, all the way down, butt-on-the-ground all the way down, and just play.
Squatting down doesn’t count. That’s just half-assing it. Sometimes we need to fully commit, to sit all the way down, and to play, play, play.