Ah, the things we learn from the wee ones.
For those of you who have ever nursed a newborn (sorry guys!), you know about those precious little hands. The ones you want to kiss and spend hours admiring. And swaddle within an inch of their life so they will stop getting between the baby’s mouth and your breast when he’s hungry. Because the hungrier he is, the more likely those sweet little hands are acting as appetizers…except they don’t take the edge of baby’s hunger, they just make him more frustrated. And who has enough hands to hold up the baby, position the breast, AND gently hold two little hands out of the way?
Thus the swaddling.
The poor child just doesn’t realize that if he would put aside his desire for his hands (even though they are great for munching most of the time), something much more delicious and nourishing would suddenly come this way.
And now, for the
slightly forced analogy to the spiritual life.
We never quite grow out of this tendency, do we?
Maybe it’s a not-so-great relationship, but we’re afraid that if we let it go, we’ll be alone. Or a job we hate (or which simply isn’t good for us), but we’re afraid of not finding something that pays as much if we quit.
And then, of course, there’s sin. What sins do we cling to, because they feel good, or maybe they just feel comfortable? What do we fear if we let them go?
Are we too busy holding tight to our pride to seek God’s help and forgiveness?
What if we were to move our hands out of the way, and let God nourish us with his goodness?
It’s Lent, and lots of us have given something up (sleep in my case – thanks Jacob!). Hopefully we’ve been able to clear away something that was actually in the way of our spiritual growth. It’s a good time to reflect: How well have we used this opportunity, this little emptying, to allow God to nourish us? What are we still clinging to, blocking God from filling us with his love and goodness?
Bonus: Here is a great article about the little hands and breastfeeding – which makes me feel bad about all the swaddling, but sometimes I get desperate. Still, it was illuminating, and helped me be less frustrated with hands-in-the-way phenomenon.