Held


When my daughter was born, I used to wrap her tightly to my body using a long strip of fabric. Wearing her helped me get things done throughout the day – whether household or work outside the home. I would wear her while doing laundry. I would wear her while washing dishes. I would wear her while typing emails; while running programs for 50+ elementary-aged children. My daughter went where I went, and watched what I was doing because she was bound to me.

When she was just a little older than two, I watched as she marched up to a couple of unfamiliar people one Sunday morning at church and introduced herself. She had been watching her father and I for her whole lives, often bound to our bodies as we went about life, and she had learned “this is simply what we do.” So when she no longer needed to be worn, she did it herself, on her own two feet – even as she wobbled and stumbled as toddlers are prone to do.

Now my daughter is five, many years removed from her days of being worn and held as I work and live. She is still with me most days though. After picking her up from school, we head over to the building our church meets in and roll out folding tables and chairs, we set places for kids to eat dinner and print worksheets and lay out books and board games. I pull chairs down off the stack, and she pushes them across the floor and around the tables. I fill pitchers with water at the sink and she sets one in the middle of each table. I print handouts for tutoring and she staples them together. Because this is simply what we do, this is how we live.

She frequently asks, when meeting someone new, if they “live alone” or with another family, because her whole life has been lived in the context of the community that exists in the little duplex on 45th Street. She thinks it’s sad some families live alone and without other friends upstairs. In her mind, this is simply what we do, it’s how we live.

***

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to have my life bound up in the life of God lately. What does it mean to have Christ mediate my life and the life of God? What does participation in the life of the Trinity look like?

And I wonder, does the mediation of Christ look like a parent wearing their infant? My daughter, learning to chop vegetables and work with children and plan events before she can even walk because she sees me working, her life bound to mine?
My daughter learning to love the outdoors, the smell of leaves and the cool air on her cheeks in the fall before she can even walk because her father wears her while he is hiking, her life bound to his?

Rather than attempting to do great things for God, what if we embraced the reality that in Christ, we are bound to God. Held in the arms of our Advocate. And we learn and grow and participate just by paying attention to what is before us that day. We learn to set longer tables first by noticing that the One who holds us has already been setting them for quite some time, we learn to appreciate the beauty of the trees and the sunlight by hiking with our Father.

It’s not taxing because we just attend to where we are. We open our eyes wide, and ask a million questions, because we already are where the life is at, where the great things are happening, where the Kingdom is coming, and we’re just learning how to participate with the one who has bound our life with their own.

I imagine as I go about my day, trying to pay attention, practicing the discipline of child-like wonder, that the One who holds me whispers along:
“This is simply what we do, it’s how we live.”

And every day, we’re invited again to open our eyes wide, and take it all in.

 

 

(Image credit: Suzanne Shahar)
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