lessons learned

     I was putting Annie down for a nap.  We have a routine, but it was off.  So I was trying to get back on track.  She was fussing.  Then screaming and writhing and fighting.  I knew that if I could get through this episode in our normal pattern, then the next time would be that much easier.  But it was painful.  I could have just put her in her crib and let her cry it out.  I could have taken her back downstairs and just lived without a nap.  But I held her while she fought me.  I spoke softly and rocked her and patter her back, while she screamed and scratched.  Half an hour later, she fell asleep.  As she drifted off, I watched her.  She let me rock her, and she seemed to enjoy the caresses and tenderness.
     Having a baby is the best spiritual training I have had.  Better than books or adult examples or homilies, remaining tender to someone who is fighting you with all her might is a spiritual challenge.  In the moment, it feels impossible.  It also feels like the whole Gospel packed into one half hour.  Giving what you do not have, giving gently and tenderly when being tortured with screaming and kicking, giving out of pure love for the one who is hurting you, and then love winning in the end–what more is there to say?