A certain two-and-a-half-year-old of my acquaintance found a new way to delight this ol’ graybeard the other day.
Having recently discovered the back pockets in his big-boy pants, the precocious kid sauntered into the breezeway…employing a distinctive (and newly-acquired) gait.
I found myself marveling at his self-assurance, as he toddled toward who-knows-where.
There’s a definite freedom in this little boy’s worldview…a dawning awareness that he can explore what he likes, try new ideas on for size, maybe even take a risk or two – confident that Mommy and Daddy are only a room away, ready to help him brush off (and perhaps pick up the pieces) when things go awry.
It’s a blessing to be loved in such a way, don’t you think? It adds a spring to one’s gait…an inner confidence…that all can be made well, come-what-may. And God offers us just such a love, the Psalmist says: “From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth…” (Ps 102: 20)
On the other hand, self-assurance can have its downside. I’m thinking about that, as we make preparations for a much-anticipated pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Most of our focus in recent days has been on packing provisions and finalizing travel plans. Into that pre-trip frenzy, our retreat leader lobbed a timely reminder: “We want to begin with God, who has called us together…”
After reading his words, I resolved to alter my gait just a tad – downshifting from “overseas tourist” mode…in order to open my heart to different possibilities, perhaps even a spiritual encounter or two.
‘Lo and behold, the first nugget surfaced this morning…even before we leave town…in the gospel passage we heard at daily Mass. It describes the Lord and his band tackling a road trip themselves:
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
Caesarea Philippi: Why, it so happens I’m headed there, too!
So: How well prepared am I…to incorporate a bit of “grace” into my gait as we go?
And: Is it possible that Jesus just might have a question or two in mind for me…at certain points “along the way”?
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.