Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why I need toddlers!

A couple of weeks ago, someone emailed me about a rather exciting post that is coming up, which they thought I might want to consider. I was, to be honest, both stunned and flattered that anyone could imagine I might have the necessary gifts, and spent a bit of time dreaming about how it might feel to pursue this. It was very exciting, but after prayer and conversation with wise friends, I decided against further exploration, because it seemed to me that in that particular context there would be too little opportunity to engage with dotty old ladies and (above all) snotty toddlers.This morning, at Little Fishes, the wisdom of that decision was brought home, as I remembered again how much I learn from the experience of trying to distil the essential things of faith for those children.

Our theme, unsurprisingly, was Lent. So we looked at some newspaper cuttings about things that made people sad, and thus make God sad. Then we gathered them up, tore them or srunched them into balls and placed them in a metal bin, where (don't try this at home, children) I set fire to them.
At the first attempt, there was a brief but impressive flame, - but it blew out before it had any real effect. One of my many "new starts", entered into with immense enthusiasm, but destined to falter before the week is out, because I'm trying to sort things on my own.
So, I tried again, this time leaving the taper in the bin after the first bits of paper had caught.
In a very short time, the newspapers was reduced to blackened shreds, so that there was no trace of the sad things they represented...because I'd left the source of light and heat right there, beside the things that needed to be changed.
I won't labour the point, but it spoke loud and clear to me.
Whatever else I do this Lent, spending some time close to God is the major priority.

Once the flames had died down, assorted mums and grannies were prepared to be ashed and then, having sung "Say sorry and Smile" we set about doing something to redress the balance of the world, inspired by the smiley faces of the LLLL booklet.

Oh, and a high spot of the morning was when I used the familiar formula of introduction
"And now let's say the prayer that Jesus taught us" and M (whose third birthday, as she enjoys reminding us, is in April) piped up with great clarity "Our Father...." and carried on right to the end.
So, thank you again, Little Fishes. Without you, I suspect I'd never have heard what I needed to this morning.

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