Friday, December 30, 2011

a cough, a fever, and a smile

My one and a half year old granddaughter has been ill with a virus.  She spent most of today in my lap, at times nestling close to me as if she wanted to burrow inside.  Certainly she didn't want me to leave her, even for a moment.  We didn't talk, we didn't play; we just sat all day in a chair together.  For three hours at one stretch, "Doodlebug" did nothing but sit with me and sleep.  I claim to be a "homeschooled grandma," and today my littlest tutor taught some powerful lessons.

For one thing, Doodlebug (being good natured) has spent this week with "a cough, a fever, and a smile."  I would have understood if she'd been fussy; after all, she surely feels rotten.  I would have held her regardless, for I love her and want to comfort her.  However, I will admit that a child who grins broadly even when bleary-eyed with fever is a child who makes life easier for those around her.  It can be pure pleasure to care for such a one.

When I have "a cough and a fever" ... or a leg ache or a headache ... can people describing me add the words "and a smile?"  Hmm.  Highly unlikely.  So - lesson one:  even though I don't have Doodlebug's easygoing nature, I'm certainly old enough to exercise my free will and MAKE THE DECISION to smile even when I don't feel like doing so.  It would surely make life easier for those around me.  It would be an act of charity.

The other major thing I learned more deeply today was the value of being with God even without words.  Sometimes there just aren't words for prayer, or sometimes they don't seem necessary, or sometimes my mind is distracted.  I was touched just knowing that Doodlebug was comforted by my presence....that she wanted to be as close to me as possible.  It gave me, perhaps, the tiniest glimpse of how it must touch the Heart of Our Lord when we want to linger close to Him.  Doodlebug would look up at me sometimes, as if remembering I was there, and she'd touch my face with her hand.  And she would smile.

I admit to being tired and physically drained from my day of comforting and being tutored.  I think it appropriate, therefore, that my bedtime prayer be to simply sit with Jesus, letting Him "hold me" in my tiredness.  I have a feeling He is pleased every time I take a second to remember that He's here, and that I'm being held by Him.

I have a feeling He's pleased every time I reach out for Him with a word, with my presence, with my smile.