Tending Your Soul
Most of my siblings are not particularly athletic, but one thing we did enjoy playing together was badminton. Our backyard was divided by a low hedge which created a convenient natural net between the players. Many a summer evening found us batting the birdie back and forth, whooping and laughing. Depending on the particular team paired up, most of the actual exercise might be the effort required to extract the birdie from the bushes or the flower beds! Even after we were all grown and gone, family gatherings still might find us in the backyard exercising our one athletic skill.
We were definitely getting up in years on the evening I remember, because my youngest sister’s 3-year-old daughter joined us in the yard. I can picture us reaching and swooping to keep this birdie in the air between us while the little one bobbed her head back and forth following the action. She cautiously skirted the perimeter of the game, smart enough not to walk into the midst of the movement; yet, watching every move attentively. Breathless and perspiring, we called a break in the game and headed for drinks in the house. As I came to the edge of the yard, I heard a voice coming from somewhere around my knees. I looked down into huge brown eyes fastened on me and heard, “Aunt Mary, can I play?” I noticed she had picked up one of the rackets we had abandoned. Actually her height and the length of the racket just about matched up perfectly. I mumbled something about her being a little short and that she could play when she was bigger. Not to be dissuaded from her pursuit, she adjusted her question: “Can’t you teach me?” I still remember how my heart melted, wanting so much to find a way to respond to her request.
God of wisdom, how often do you, as loving parent, ache to fulfill the prayer we lift to you? You alone have complete picture – the big picture. We, your near-sighted children, ask or even demand that you respond from our limited point of view. Teach me … patient trust.
What image, feeling, question or memory of yours surfaces as you read this story?