This afternoon, I picked Noah up from school, or pre-preschool, or whatever you would like to call it, and we headed straight for the park. With the beautiful weather, the extra hour of sunlight, and waiting on my husband to return to town from a meeting, it was the right formula for an hour of fresh air and running around. As soon as we arrived, I noticed a change in our normal park routine. Noah was not asking me to help him climb up the stairs, nor was he interested in racing down slides together. He was confidently doing things on his own and interacting with the other kids who were there (and I am so thankful he can do these things). I was beginning to wonder, however, if he even noticed I was still at the park with him. So I sat down close to the play structure, made faces at Zeke who was in my lap, and waited for Noah to look my way. And waited. And waited. I got a glance. And then I waited some more. (Finally, his nose was so runny that I initiated a conversation so I could clean him up!) Sheesh, kid, don't you care that I'm here??
I understood his behavior at the park perfectly well. He had just come from a classroom of kids where he was one of fifteen children led by only two or three adults. He was in the mindset of doing things on his own and doing the "work" of playing with other kids. But that did not lessen my desire for him to want to play with me, to be close to me.
Alas, the job of a parent.
I can only imagine what this looks like at 16.
More than that, I can only imagine how our Heavenly Father feels when we go off and do our own thing without giving our time with him so much as a second thought. We give him an occasional glance just to make sure he's still around, and then we keep on doing whatever we were wrapped up in doing before. Our "playground" is enticing, and it is where he has placed us, but so often we see the playground as the purpose, when really the purpose all along is for us to spend time with Him.
I'm guilty of being the kid who's too wrapped up in what's going on to notice the reason for the occasion. But still, God is always there. He waits. And waits. And waits. And when I need cleaning up, he initiates and shows his love and care. And then he waits some more.
That is amazing love. That is what constantly draws me back into my Father's arms. That is what I want to show my boys.
After about 20 minutes at the park, Noah chose to play with me: swinging "as high as a bird" and hide-and-seek were on the menu today. I can't speak for him, but it was joy for this parent's heart.
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16