In Which I Helped Water Plants

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, August 5, 2014

don't be afraid to sparkle

In Which I Helped Water Plants

Ever have a day when you were busy all day? A lot of little things? But at the end, couldn’t really point to any one big thing and say, in large part, that’s what I did today.

Oh, I can think of specific, minor things that happened. Discrete items I could tick off one by one. I organized some material for the worship service on Sunday. I answered some email and did other work on the computer. I read to the four and five year olds in the preschool. I talked with the trustee at church about several matters, including an upcoming meeting. And, I asked the trustee about some plants, since the four year olds’ teacher asked.

As the trustee and I walked out of the building, we came upon the four year old class. The teacher was there, too. I told her that Bob the trustee was the man with the answers for her. “I think he’s just the person to ask,” and matters were resolved in less than a minute. The preschool teacher was really happy! Her students will get a chance to see things grow, and I was glad that I could so easily get two people together who would be able to benefit and help each other.

The trustee and I also saw the four year olds with a large watering can. “I can get the key for the water. You can use the hose to water the plants by the sidewalk,” Bob offered. Sure enough, the hose was coiled up, right by the spigot on the outside of the building. Nice, white pebbles lined the walkway to the front door, and more than a dozen plantings of greenery were on either side of the walkway. The children got so excited when they saw the water bubble up. Come out of the hose, and water the thirsty plants.

I stayed outside and helped to keep watch over the large group of children, while the teacher gave two or three children special attention. Yes, I had fun! And, the children and I talked about quite a number of subjects while I was overseeing the watering and having the children take turns with the hose. (I even encouraged the children to do their best to keep their shoes dry!) And, I talked about the water nourishing the plants, among other important matters. At least—it was important to the children!

I haven’t prayed about this month’s verse yet. (I try to, each month.) I know this verse well—the wonderful call from the prophet Micah to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” This impromptu session outside was a definite learning experience. And, use of the hose showed the children how much the plants needed that water. Perhaps not today, but soon the plants will be greener than green. Nurtured. Growing.

God, help me learn other ways in which You will be pleased to see this verse from Micah 6 get put into practice. Thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

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Children Make Me Happy!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, April 28, 2014

Jesus and children drawing

Children Make Me Happy!

Yes, children have the potential of making me happy. Simple, straight-forward, open, friendly, trusting. All these things about children refresh me. Energize me. There is a preschool at the church where I have my new job. When I see them in the halls or in other places around the church, I often feel happy inside. They are almost like an automatic smile maker.

I loved having small children, myself. I loved being able to slow down to a child’s pace, to look at the world through their eyes. To gaze with wonder at a huge snowflake landing on the woolen arm of a winter coat, or a spider making its orb web in the backyard, or an ant hurrying on its way with a crumb twice its size on its back. All of these make me pause and reflect. If it weren’t for children, how often would I slow down and look at the little things of life? I mean, the tiny details, the unexpectedly surprising discoveries of everyday experience?

And to sing and make music with children? Singing silly songs, doing all the hand motions, getting up and marching around the classroom, or doing the hokey-pokey? (That’s what it’s all about, you know!) No wonder there is so much laughter and merriment coming from preschools all over!

God compares us to small children, in the Hebrew Scriptures. Or rather, God compares the nation of Israel to a small child. (And by scriptural and hermeneutical understanding, we—today—can also compare ourselves to small children, too. But I digress from my biblical example.) In chapter 11 of Hosea, the prophet talks of God picking up the nation of Israel like a small child and cuddling the small child/nation of Israel to God’s chest/breast. This is such a maternal image! Sometimes, especially when I am feeling small and lost and alone, I am comforted to no end to be reminded of such a tender word picture. Imagine, God doing that to me! (And God will cuddle you, too. If you need it. Or want it.)

Now, I have no problem seeing God as my Loving, Heavenly Parent. Sure, I did have parental issues in my past. I mean, issues with my earthly parents. But through years of prayer, meditation, spiritual direction and counseling, I’ve come to terms with most of them. Now, this clears the way for a loving, encouraging, caring relationship with my Heavenly Father. (Or if you prefer, God our Mother, as St. Julian of Norwich said several times in her excellent book Revelations of Divine Love.)

So, how was I kind today? I shared smiles and hellos with some preschoolers today, and they shared right back! Talk about a mutual smile maker! God, thank You for children, especially the children of Kids Academy. And the preschool teachers, too, who give so willingly and tenderly of themselves to these little ones, each day. Thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

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