Today I walked behind a fairy princess who was on a journey to her pre-K school. She was also accompanied by her Nana and older brother. Dressed in a lavender tulle skirt, wearing the required fairy wings, also lavender, and a veil of tulle held on by a ring of flowers crown, she processed down the alley and street to her destination. People greeted her and remarked at how beautiful her outfit looked. The next day was the same.
As always, when fully employed as a Papa, there was a fly in the ointment; it seems her brother didn’t want to go to school. It was quite dramatic. Tristan has the ability to stand silent in these situations. Not wishing to mess with his special skill, I simply picked him up and began walking to school. Papa interrupting the pose evidently reminded him that he was not with mom or dad, and so he had to move forward. We talked and he told me that school is too much. I have done homework with him so I know what he’s talking about. As the readings from today suggest, I focused him on the fact of the future and reminded him, as old people often do, that we’ve all gone through this, and, that he is quite smart and will make it. Seeing that he cried for the entire walk, I’m not sure that the pep talk helped.
This experience reminded me of the first reading today. The writer is awash with despair that God has abandoned him to the ups and downs of life in turmoil, surrounded by violence. God reminds him of a basic truth; when you are going to the goal, the journey is often difficult. In fact, God also says that it is the difficulty of the task that makes us grow in our ability to accept the goal when we reach it. In other words, God is saying (to quote popular wisdom) there is no free lunch. When Vienna went through the work (for a two year old) to become a fairy princess, she received the accolades. When Tristan went through the turmoil of crying, resistance and stormy silence, he had to put up with Papa saying “tough boogies kid. You have to go to school.” Like the servant in the Gospel, by the time his sobbing walk was finished, he was happy to see friends and walk through the door.
These challenges may seem small my friends, but I remind you that to a 2 and 6 year old, they are big. We face these kinds of challenges all of the time; illness, financial despair, broken relationships, moments when one more burden will surely crush us. But, we have Jesus, Love Incarnate, who promises to be with us as we struggle and grow through our difficulties. Pain makes humans grow. It is a psychological fact that our best work is done in adversity. It is a spiritual fact that God is there, not to take on the burden, but to help carry it when we need the support. He has never broken his promise in spite of our questioning His presence. Sometimes, He’s like Papa, picking us up and carrying us to the next step. Have a wonderful week.
Peace and Blessings, Deacon Mike