Through the Eyes of a Child
At this time in my life much of my energy goes into my role as a Nana. I often have the privilege of watching my 3-year-old triplet granddaughters and suffice it to say, it does take much of my energy.
Watching these active, inquisitive, silly little girls is an eye opener to my true identity. My relationship with them has nothing to do with the many useful, significant things I have accomplished in my life up to that moment. Anything of note in my biographical sketch isn’t the least bit remarkable to them. I am simply Nana and what really excites them is my ability to make french toast and my Playdoh skills. I’ve worked hard and well in life. I’ve learned valuable lessons and important skills that have shaped me into who I am. Yet in the presence of these girls, those things drift aside. In a sense, they can seem meaningless. Not being able to use the proficiencies that have served me well to this point in life can be a source of anxiety. This has brought me face to face with my true self. When dealing with children you are open to affirmation, rejection, hugs and tears simply on how I am perceived at the moment. It’s very vulnerable. In a way, I am starting life all over again. With these little cherubs reputation means absolutely nothing.
I am simply Nana and what really excites them is my ability to make french toast and my Playdoh skills.
This thought has made me realize I need to live life “without a safety net” and, although sometimes uncomfortable, it’s not a bad place to be. My time with these girls has forced me to rediscover myself…my true identity. These unpretentious toddlers force me to let go of the résumé that I have painstakingly built over my life and be my naked self. It has forced me to completely embrace that vulnerability, to open myself up to give and receive love regardless of my accomplishments and my baggage.
There is a similar scenario in at the end of John’s gospel when the resurrected Jesus meets Peter and several other disciples during a fishing trip. After a miraculous catch and breakfast on the beach, Jesus confronts Peter and challenges him to look at his true self.
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.’ The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’” John 21:15-17
There was nothing wrong with Peter being an expert fisherman. But when life got tough, that’s where Peter turned instead of to Jesus. His boat, nets and reputation were his “go to” for comfort. When other things failed him, fishing is what Peter knew best. That’s where Jesus meets him in John 21, but Jesus sees a deeper identity, a more vulnerable one. He sees past Peter’s shortcomings and accomplishments and into the very core that Jesus always seems to find with us.
In one of those raw and vulnerable moments where He looks into Peter’s true self, Jesus is asking, “Who are you, really?”
And He has been asking me, and you, the same thing. “Who are you……really?”
Written by Major Lauren Hodgson
Spiritual Life Development Department