Levi is 3 now. This means he is a ball of energy, temper tantrums and (usually) fun. This also means he is always moving closer and closer towards independence and a little bit further away from me with each step. And each day I have to remind myself that part of being a good parent to him now is to let him.
I was reminded of this today at the park. I was sitting on a bench, cursing the fact that we live in a state where simply sitting in the shade means you are sitting in your own sweat, and watching Levi wander around, exploring here and there. I was remembering how even a short while ago I wouldn’t have felt comfortable to sit down while he wandered. A few months ago, I would have wanted to be standing and ready to spring into action if he fell too hard or wandered too far or had a mean encounter with an older kid. (I kid you not. I have “accidentally” tripped many a bully on the playground.) But he’s a little bit older now and he needs to learn to fend for himself just a little bit more: To take a harder hit and see that he’s ok. To wander a little farther and know he can wander back. Most of all, he and I are building trust. He trusts that I am not too far away and I trust that he will listen to me and come running back to me when I call his name.
But every once in a while in his wandering, Levi will meander behind a tree or around a corner and for a brief moment we can’t see each other. I find myself holding my breath for that moment, willing myself to wait a beat before jumping up and finding him. And to trust that he will come around the other side and be back in my sight line again. (This is where I ignore the “law and order” voice in my head that says this is the beginning of a bad plot line for us.) And sure enough, he always pops around the other side, proud of himself for navigating the corner on his own and learning once more that I am still sitting on my bench watching, even when he can’t see me.
Today I realized that this new trust Levi and I are building and the process we are going through to build it is remarkably similar to my relationship with God right now. He and I are building some trust now too. Except He’s the One sitting on the bench and I’m rounding the blind corner. I have my breath held that He will be there when I walk into the light again and I’m pretty sure He has His breath held that I will emerge still fully trusting in His goodness and presence even when we couldn’t see each other.
We tell ourselves that we have God’s promise that He will never leave us and I believe firmly that is absolutely true. This doesn’t mean, however, that we can see Him or feel Him or even find Him sometimes right at the exact moment we want to. Sometimes we are rounding a dark corner and He is still watching, just from a little bit farther than before. Trust is being renewed. We trust He is there. He trusts we know this and in doing so, we demonstrate our love for Him.