Friday, February 26, 2010

The Contraption

"Mommy, you're tiny!" Hobbes exclaims as he looks backwards through the binoculars.

The contraption (because I don't know what else to call it) belongs to Calvin, a green plastic toy his Nana bought for him on a museum trip. It has a compass and little lenses that fold out to work as binoculars or a magnifying glass. I'm sure it does many other things. I am certain Calvin can tell me what it is called and quote the entire instruction manual verbatim for me if I ask him. But Hobbes just likes to play with it, watching objects magically shrink and grow through the various lenses.

"Now you look, Mommy. See how tiny I am!"

But when I take the binoculars from my eyes, Hobbes stands so large before me and his brother even larger beside him. It has been five and a half years since I held my first baby, and now I hold my third son, on the verge of walking, his older brothers so very big to me.

I remember when Calvin was a baby, and everything seemed to focus on him. I watched every move or noise or face he made with such wonder and scrutiny. Every failing as a parent seemed so huge and every disobedience on his part devastating. I was more than once certain I had failed him. I too often made too much of something little. I was looking through that magnifying part of the contraption.

Five and a half years and two more babies and something is beginning to shift. There are still moments and days and weeks when I find myself looking through that magnifying glass, the microscopic problem suddenly looming large before my eyes. But sometimes I remember to step back, to open my eyes to a new perspective. Yes, those little moments and actions and words are important. They are also very small pieces of a very large world. Sometimes I remember to turn the contraption around and look through the wrong end of the binoculars, to see how tiny I really am.

When I realize my true place, I find myself folding up the contraption, the plans and need for control and fear that skew my perspective. I realize that this moment does not hold the weight of the future. When I stop looking down to analyze, I can look up and see something bigger. Then those moments don't become less significant. They become heavy with the grace and beauty and goodness of a God who is there in it all, placing all of the small pieces lovingly in their places. Because they are no longer all about me, they become moments of gratitude and peace and joy.

I am a small piece of a very big world, but it is a world guided by a grace and mercy that takes small pieces and turns them into more than the sum of their parts. A grace that redeems the failures and sorrows and struggles. A grace that does not reject the small moments but puts them in their right places. Because God cares about those parenting moments when I fail and when I rise to the task, but until I see them from His perspective, I can't see them rightly. I can't see me rightly.

Yes, I am tiny, Hobbes. We are all so tiny and yet loved by a God who is so very big. Now let's look at some bugs and flowers through that magnifying glass.


Daniele said...

I love this, dear friend. I'm so glad you're not totally blog-less this Lent!

Chef, Interrupted said...

So well said, dearest. Moments of gratitude, peace, and joy indeed!