On the heels of this fun project, we decided to plant some more seeds to grow on the kitchen windowsill. I let him pick three kinds from our basket of last year's leftovers. Kale, lovage, and field peas. But how to know which is which? With labels, of course, which Gabriel painstakingly, proudly wrote out after each small group of seeds had been carefully covered with a thin blanket of dirt for a seedy siesta. (Oh my, that sounds like a nefarious way to nap, doesn't it?)
As his skills progress, words and letters are beginning to have more meaning for him. Consider it from his perspective: you can write these mysterious symbols in a certain order to create meaning, then cut them out, then tape the new word you made onto something, and it becomes really real.
Yesterday I read something that Thomas Merton said. It stopped me in my tracks.
What am I? I am myself a word spoken by God.
Can God speak a word that does not have any meaning?
It is joyful to share growing language skills with young children, in part because the link between words and creation is so powerful for them. All that word made flesh stuff didn't make much sense for me before children--it's different now.
Merton's words touched me also because lately we are trying to help Frances accept herself and her limitations more peacefully. It's interesting how perfectly God's love for her makes sense to me; how my children are particular, intentional words spoken by God. But it doesn't always sit so easy when I think about myself that way. A word spoken by God? Really?
But why should I be any different? At the very least, my unease helps me to empathize with my little girl. And parenthood has given me a tiny glimmer of insight into what God's love for us all must be like. Boundless, complete, unconditional--simply because we are. Just like the love we feel for our children. Like the love I feel for my best friend and her new baby, who just arrived on Tuesday. The fact that they are is miraculous. Forget doing. Just being is enough.