This is the story I’ll be reading to the kids in Sunday School this morning. We are winding down the year; next week will be the last meeting and then we go on hiatus for children’s religious education until September.
I’m excited to find this story this a.m., prepared to share it with I know not how many kids that will appear today. As I said, we’re winding down. Regular school ended a few weeks ago and everyone has begun to take on a summer attitude–even me, planning this morning’s session this very morning. Between our circle-sharing and the reading of the story, there will be precious little extra time and we do have a “Thank You” card to make as well.
So, why this story? Perhaps because I read this story on the New York Times online this a.m., about how kids are reaching “adulthood” at later ages these days. I’m trying to tease out how the two are related in my early morning brain. I suppose how I want to end this year is with inspiration for the children to go out in faith, ultimately not faith in God being able to provide, but in themselves to find a way to provide–whether for a day or a month, or a lifetime. What I want to tease out of this story for the children is that while the man thinks that God is providing, what the man is doing is praying to God to provide and then opening his eyes to see what is happening around him and responding appropriately. There is no “oh, no, I can’t do this, I shall now perish!” The man simply says, “what else can I do?”
This is the faith that I hold. Not that God will always provide, but that I will (eventually) open my eyes, ears and heart to other possibilities that may be available. Yes, I’ve also done my fair share of teeth gnashing when things change and without any rational or logical explanation, but as I look back over my life, there’s a fair share of “what else?” Some times it takes some gnashing to get to the other; sometimes (most often) it take that moment of what some call prayer, of searching the sky for answers and then finding them there on the ground. Just in front of me.
After I read the Times and the Tapestry of Faith story, I picked up my battered old copy of Awareness by Anthony DeMello, S.J. and came across this:
Another illusion is that someone else can do this for you, that some savior or guru or teacher can do this for you. Not even the greatest guru in the world can take a single step for you. You’ve got to take it yourself. St. Augustine said it so marvelously: “Jesus Christ himself could do nothing for many of his hearers.” … It is you who have to do it. No one else can help you. … It is you who have to seek. Nobody can seek for you. And if what you seek is truth, then you must do this.” pp 111-112
I’m still not sure how this all falls together–but I will. Because I have faith in my abilities and I know no one else is going to do this for me! With me, perhaps, but not for me.