Outraged, our younger son ran upstairs and threw himself on his bed. Our crime had been to catch a large spider under a glass with the intention of putting it outside. ‘You’ve frightened it, ‘ he shouted through his tears. ‘You could have just opened the door and beckoned it outside!’
I don’t know if I was more surprised at his use of the word ‘beckon’ or that he seemed to believe that it was possible to be a spider whisperer. If only it was that easy to get rid of things we want to get rid of. If only we could beckon things away.
In this pre-Easter season, it is common to think about the yuckiness in our lives that we want to get rid of. (Sorry, spider-lovers, I’m not meaning to imply that they are alarming to everyone.) What is the best way to do that? Attack? Sheer doggedness and determination? I’m sure those things have their place in breaking bad habits, but what about unhealthy thought patterns and less than loving responses? How can we get those to scuttle away?
On a weekend retreat for teenagers and parents recently, we spent time with a bit of the Bible; Romans 12, and as I looked back through my journal, I found these bits of paraphrased wisdom that seem to provide some of the answer:
Be cheerfully expectant
Remember your identity: beloved
Don’t try to be a great somebody
Be inventive in hospitality
Get the best of evil by doing good
Love from the centre of who you are
When we had a bit of time to mess around with some poster paint, I tried to capture a picture I had in my head of floating on God’s love (it’s not meant to look like a drowned body) and the trust involved in letting that love carry us. Is it too passive a picture?
As my husband gets ready for his 5-week pilgrimage on the Camino to Santiago de Compestela and the rest of us prepare for our few days of walking with him, our older son jokes that we are ‘Cami-not-ready’. But how could we ever be, really? A journey of faith just requires one step after another, trusting the one who beckons us towards an open door with love.