The best way to learn about life is by interacting with other people. It may sound obvious, and perhaps reminiscent of a cliché, but true nonetheless. It is the human interaction with earth, their environment and others just like them that add daily to the richness of experience. Through my own interactions with other people I have learned more about God (and in the process more about myself) than I am able to relate in writing.
As an illustration… when I became a father for the first time it was an awesome experience. When I became a father for the second time that wondrous awe didn’t dissipate. But in having to deal with my own children I also became acutely aware of the intense, sometimes conflicting but always invigorating, emotions that rose up in me. I learned about God. The birth of our first child was a difficult one, with a minor complication arising from my daughter not wanting to exit into the world, twisting herself into a frightened ball and getting stuck in the process. An emergency Caesarian was performed, and after delivery, all purple in the face from lack of oxygen wouldn’t start breathing on her own. Since this was a first-time experience for me I was blissfully (and in retrospect, gratefully) unaware of this. While the nurses were coming up with some serious and inventive techniques to get her breathing, all I could do was tearfully marvel at how beautiful she was. It was one of the most incredible experiences in my life. The subsequent years have done nothing to diminish my awe at her unique beauty. It was in that moment, and many other moments since the birth, that I came to understand my friend David’s claim that God makes all of us ‘wonderfully & fearfully’.
My interaction with my children have given me a new perspective and appreciation for God (whom I consider my Father, my Daddy), and in particular his interaction with me. Because I love my children without fail (no matter what shenanigans they get up to) I can more readily accept that love from Father. The pride that swells my heart when I look at my daughter and son achieving something they set their minds to, makes me understand, even if only in a small way, a similar pride in the heart of God.
There were times that I wished I could place my children in a glass cage to keep them safe from all the bad things in the world, and yet I knew that it was impossible. But it also keeps me attentive to their every move, encouraging here, warning there, challenging them at times, reprimanding when needed, and keeps me constantly in a state of arms spread wide to embrace them when things go wrong… or when things go right. My picture of Father is the same. Looking and waiting. Taking care. Feeling pride. Being concerned. Being disappointed. Loving the embrace. Adoring the smile. Joining the laughter, and sometimes tears.
So in a sense the only glass cage I am able to erect for them is simply to be there. To be a guardian of their heart, their every move, and every action. Overriding everything else there is an atmosphere of love that cannot be changed, or moved, or shaken, or redirected. That love is simply there for ever. And so I learn about life and living.