With incredulity written all over his face, zombie-like arms outstretched before him and a determined gleam in his wide eyes, my youngest grandson has started to walk. In all honesty, he’s not very good at it … yet. That matters not one jot to me. Every wobbly step gets wildly applauded. When he wants to get somewhere fast, he reverts to his ape like scuttle – hands and feet firmly planted on the ground and diapered butt high in the air. I delight in his little scuttle, trying to impress it in my mind because I know that, all too soon, it will be a thing of the past. Not long from now he will be running fast with his mama trying to keep up.
It seems to me just yesterday that my grandson’s mama was born and tomorrow my daughter turns 30. She is strong and confident and outspoken and wise. Some of that I taught her. She is also fragile and afraid and silent and unsure. Some of that I taught her too. Parents teach. Intentionally as well as unwittingly our lives transfer from generation to generation. The greatest parental joy is when we see the fruit of our intentionality bringing success to our children; it cuts deep when reflected back to us is a mirror of our own deficiencies. Yet, this pain is a two edged-sword because along with the wound to our ego comes the soothing salve of mercy for our own too-human parents.
Parenting is both an exercise in the heavy lifting disciplines as well as weightless free falling spontaneity. Make sure to brush your teeth and eat your greens and learn your multiplication but today we celebrate our sticky-up-hair with a no brushing rule while we jump on the bed and make up stories of wild beasts in faraway lands.
Our Father in heaven is the perfect parent whose very life and breath has been transferred from generation to generation. In his teaching to us I see that the human soul needs disciplines such as prayer and reading and gathering; I also see the need for the wildness of parting seas and oil vats that never run dry and walking on water.
There are times for a disciplined and steady walking of our faith. Holy week, which today has come, can be this for us. Some Christ followers may ask, “Is not every week holy?” and the answer is, of course, yes. Yet the human soul seeks traditions, or disciplines, that train us in righteousness. As millions of Christ-followers walk in the steps of Jesus to the Cross this week, we discipline ourselves to remember the sorrow of betrayal and the pain of sacrifice. We examine ourselves and we enter into the sufferings of others as well as our own.
Then, with the rising of the sun on Easter day we celebrate the wildness of the resurrection. Life conquering wildness where all sorrow is absorbed into the sacrifice that was full payment for transgression.
There is only one perfect parent; one perfect Father and one perfect Son. All the rest are mere babes learning to walk. Whether you are a parent or a child, or both, I encourage you, this Holy week, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. May your steps take you to the cross of humility and to the transformative power of new beginnings.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17