5th Sunday of Easter
1 Peter 2:4-9
‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me?’
As we continue to live in these strange COVID-19 pandemic times, I have read enough commentaries and news reports, read enough of what the pundits and thought leaders say about the times we are now in, to feel sick to the pit of my tummy from consuming all these information. I confess that I have obsessed, and it is not healthy at all.
Where I live in Singapore, we are now into our second month of a semi-lockdown, or ‘Circuit Breaker’ as it is coined by our government. Around the world, many people in different countries or major cities have been living under a different shade of the same pandemic lockdown. One common thread that runs through our experiences is the sheer amount of uncertainty, anxiety, and restlessness this season has triggered in our daily lives. The second common thread is that most of us are now thrown into the ring of ‘fire’, so to speak, of domestic hot-housing with the good-and-the-bad of every family member under the same roof.
For better or for worse, this has exacerbated stress and unhappiness between husbands and wives, parents and children, even among siblings. Things in my household are not too far off. Every little minor irritation can be the ember that sparks off a volcanic eruption. And in solidarity with some of you, I will admit that I have lost my cool one too many times. At the same time, as we have increased time spent with each other, the irony is that my loneliness feels more pronounced and my yearning to carve out some alone-time all day is at a constant peak. My kid trails me all over our tiny apartment from the bedroom to the kitchen, even while I sit on the toilet. I never have a moment of quiet when I can hear my thoughts. Too often, I have sighed too loudly in annoyance or exasperation at hearing him ask me to do another activity together. And my child hears me… and asks in genuine concern, “Mummy, what happened?” This question absolutely breaks my heart.
And this moment comes to mind as I read how Jesus asks his disciples, especially Philip, “Have I been with you all this time and you still do not know me?” Jesus yearned to be seen and known fully by his disciples who were still fuzzy with ignorance and expectations of the kind of ‘King’ he was supposed to be. Similarly, my son yearns to be seen and known fully, and engaged intimately with his mummy who was fuzzy with much anxiety, preoccupations (of more important things), and expectations of being productive or efficient (had I no need to entertain a child for another half hour).
My eyes are glazed over with the world’s beckonings and my own desires. While my child only wanted something so simple and honest: time with my mummy and her focus to complete this puzzle with me. A million distractions, expectations, and ideal scenarios plague our mind about which are the most important things we need to tend to in these times.
As I pondered my relationship with my child and his desire for my undivided attention, I saw even more clearly the primary relationship I have shrugged away, my time with Jesus and my relationship with my heavenly Father. I haven’t really looked to Him and sought His loving gaze, much less had the patience to look at Him lovingly. I have likewise neglected my spiritual needs, and hence my own love tank has been sorely dry. I hope that as I have come to realise this as a parent, I will be able to go to the Father first to be filled with my needs before I seek to fill my little boy’s cup of love. I cannot give what I do not first have.
(Today’s Oxygen by Debbie Loo)
Prayer: Lord, I pray for patience and pauses through my day where I can work on carving out time to tend to my spiritual garden with you, in order that I may love my family better.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the humbling and fearless love of my child, who has taught me that I need to seek You out more persistently as he does to me. I know you have infinite patience for me and my incessant needs. Help me to find my rest in you always.