Category Archives: Jesus

I am not a monster; I am a boy

Courtesy deviantart.net

Micah often talks about how he doesn’t like school. It breaks my heart. As a veteran teacher, I know that there is more to the story, but he is only three. His parents and I are taking his concerns seriously as we make a holistic assessment of the situation.

Play with his peers is one topic that comes up a lot when Micah is with me. He complains that the other children call him a monster. He reports that his reply is, “I am not a monster, I am a boy.” Something has penetrated deeply here, because I heard him repeat this to unfamiliar children at the museum when he wanted to share their crawlspace. He mentioned it again yesterday while we ate a leisurely lunch. It bothers him on a deep level, and so it bothers me.

Micah will be alright. He has a loving and attentive family. We are working with the teachers. We have options and we can move him to another preschool if things do not improve. By society’s standards, any one can see that he isn’t a monster. But my tender heart leans towards him, and towards all who suffer at the hands of others who dismiss our humanity.

On Tuesday, my dear friend and I had an encounter with a young beggar on the street. Born with severe deformities and nearly no legs, Jake is wheelchair bound, no taller than three feet. He is, at the young age of 20, an orphan. So starved was he for attention and kindness, that when I asked him to tell me his story, a long and steady torrent of words flowed out, continuing with no pause or punctuation for as long as we could remain. It isn’t clear how he survives, or to whom he belongs, apart from God. What touched me most deeply was his own sense of determination to live with dignity. As I listened with my heart, I heard Jake say, “I am not a monster; I am a boy.”

Yes, a boy. But more than a boy. A beloved son of the Father. And someday, that understanding will make all the difference in the world. John 8:31-32.

That The Spirit May Be Alive

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Show me the suffering of the most miserable, so I will know my people’s plight. Free me to pray for others, for you are present in every person. Help me take responsibility for my own life, so that I can be free at last. Grant me courage to serve others, for in service there is true life. Give me honesty and patience, so that the Spirit will be alive among us. Let the Spirit flourish and grow, so that we will never tire of the struggle. Let us remember those who have died for justice, for they have given us life. Help us love even those who hate us, so we can change the world. Amen.

– A prayer by Cesar Chavez

Washing Our Hearts

Courtesy studio3music.com

Anger is like germs on our hands. Every individual has a responsibility to contain it, to wash it away rather than let it spread through violent deeds or angry words. We wash our hands with water. We wash our hearts with breath.

At school, my three year old grandson, Micah is learning to use his words when he is angry instead of hitting. But, Micah wants to be a super hero. So, I am teaching him the super power of loving kindness. And, he is learning.

Today, a playmate grabbed a toy out of his hands while we were at the park. Micah visibly held back from hitting her, grabbing the toy while saying sternly, “I was playing with that toy. Give it back to me!” The girl dug deeper into her anger, crossed her arms, stomped her foot, and said to Micah, “I am taller than you are and I don’t have to listen to you!” Micah turned his back to her and played with the toy, guarding it jealously.

I waited a bit to let things cool off, then called Micah over and told him I was glad he chose to use his words instead of hitting. “Do you want to use your secret super power?” I asked. He nodded his head yes, so together we took some deep breaths, washing away the anger; a baptism not of water, but of spirit. Then, as we often do, we recited together our firm resolve: To be kind, to be kind, and to be kind.

What happened next was simply an act of grace. Micah told his playmate, “It’s OK; we can be friends again.” This spontaneous forgiveness gave her the emotional support she needed. She said, “I’m sorry,” and so did Micah. They held hands, and ran away together laughing.

Loving kindness is the very heart of God. God is mindful when the sparrow falls, and when we fall too. Breathing allows us to become mindful of the loving heart of God. No wonder Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14 NIV) Super heroes with super powers.

He will do the rest

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What we do is very little. But it is like the little boy with a few loaves and fishes. Christ took that little and increased it. He will do the rest. What we do is so little that we may seem to be constantly failing. But so did he fail. He met with apparent failure on the Cross. But unless the seeds fall into the earth and die, there is no harvest.

-Dorothy Day

Waving at God

Courtesy techsetu.com

Yesterday, I was at an amusement park with my three year old grandson.  As he went around and around on the swings, he looked for me and waved.  At one point, the ride was going so fast that he became disoriented – looking backwards instead of directly towards me.

This reminded me of our lives.  Sometimes we look all around, but not directly at God.  When our eyes meet, we smile with delight.  Imagine how joyful that moment of connection is for God !