happiness is ... (take two)

an afternoon walk ...
 to a place called Lilac lane ...
with a boy who brought his scissors (and a feather-collecting box)...
that led to lilacs on my mantel.
And I love the lilacs, I do. But even more, I love it that my kids eagerly go collecting feathers and lilacs. I love it that Finn wants to wear his own bouquet--that he fills his pockets with flowers, and then stuffs them in his sweater's buttonholes. I love it that Willa will sit for hours in the dirt, tasting, drawing, sifting, exploring. And I love it that this is normal for kids--this is just what kids do. I want my children--all children--to love this world, to experience it as grace, a gift from God. I want them to walk on sturdy feet, knowing that they belong here and won't just float away. Finn said the other night, in his nightly prayers, "God, I like this world. Can you make more of it?" Indeed, I want them to know themselves as co-creators with God, participating in on-going creation. One of Finn's favorite preschool prayers goes "God pushed up the mountains, and rolled out the sea. He painted the skies and then made me." But we do it in the present tense at home--God pushes up the mountains, God makes me.

Of course, classic Christianity asserts that this world isn't our home, that we are but passing through, and that we shouldn't let our affections get tied up here. This theology, taken wrongly, can lead to all sorts of problems with wasting our resources and not caring for creation, but holding too tightly to this world leads to problems too.

Last week, a dear college friend came through town last-minute, sharing lunch with us and bringing morels. I didn't take many, since Matt would be away and I assumed my mushroom-shunning children wouldn't have anything to do with them. Finn, however, was intrigued with the idea that Josh foraged for them in the woods, and couldn't wait to try them. The smell drew him right up to the stove, and then at the table, he couldn't stop eating them, exclaiming over and over how delicious they were. And they were--rich and earthy, scented with a little garlic and a little thyme and a little dirt. At one point he stopped and said, "Josh must really love us to give us something so delicious."

More than anything, this is what I want for them: to know deep inside that God really loves them, to give them something so delicious as this world, and at the same time, to trust God enough to be able to let it go when the time comes.

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