Last six months have been full of fun, adventure, excitement, joy at home! The reason behind all this: my two and half year old nephew, Ahaan. He has been staying with my mom and me for some time now and as I dropped him back at his parents’ place a few days back I realized how our lives have been resolving around this hyperactive, adventurous, naughty, powerhouse of unending energy and excitement!! During this time that he stayed with us, we tried teaching him a lot of things, but all in vain. All our efforts failed in front of this highly determined soul who wanted to do everything ‘my way or the highway’ style. Well, in the bargain, he taught me a few lessons for life. Have been wanting to share it for a long time, but, as you can understand, got time only now.
There was this one incident during my initial days with him, when I had still not realized that patience is THE virtue when dealing with him. Just after he finished his dinner and before we started ours, he did something naughty which I’ve been telling him not to do for a long time. I scolded him and he started crying. Usually during those days, he wouldn’t just stop with crying but go a step forward and vomit as well. And this time too he was doing the same thing. In my attempts to stop him from doing that, I patted him on his lips. That anyways didn’t stop him, but rather hurt him. He vomited everything that he ate that night. He went crying to my mom and was with her for the rest of the night. We all slept with a very heavy heart. But next day morning, life was back to normal. He was again the fun-loving guy he is and was playing me with me as if nothing happened. What a relief!! J This made me think how I and many of us are. What do we do if someone does or even says the slightest of the things that hurt or offend us? We hurt and offend them back, talk ill about them, hold grudge against them and that too sometimes for the rest of our lives, blacklist them, avoid them, cut-off ourselves from them if possible. That’s when my nephew taught me to forgive, forget and move on. Life would be so much more better if we do that. No wonder Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27,28) And if your question is how many times should we forgive someone. Jesus’ answer is “.. seventy – seven times.” (Matthew 18:22), which means as many times as possible!!
With me around, excitement quotient for Ahaan increases exponentially!! Sometimes it becomes very difficult to control him. So, when we go to church to attend the Mass I tactfully leave him with his Granny who is blessed with virtues to lovingly and patiently take care of him. I sit at the other end, far away from his sight. One Sunday towards the end of the Mass, amidst the sound of songs and prayers, I heard a voice from across the hall. And I recognized that it was Ahaan. I was instantly reminded of Jesus’ words, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) Through these words Jesus, our Good Shepherd, says how He personally knows us and how because of this close relationship, we (His sheep) hear and recognize His voice. This is so true in life. Had it been six months before, I might not have even heard the voice of Ahaan in the crowd and if I had, I would have thought that it is some other kid. But having spent time with him, I’ve come to know him better, I know his likes and dislikes, I know what makes him happy and excited, I know his voice. That’s why I was able to recognize his voice amidst all the others. Isn’t that so in our relationship with God? We say that God doesn’t exist, God doesn’t speak. Isn’t that because we have not put in enough efforts to know Him, to spend time with Him? Trust me, He definitely speaks and has spoken to me so clearly, so personally, so many times and still does. But to hear Him I had to and I still continue to invest in building my personal relationship with Him.
Towards the end of his stay with us, Ahaan taught me another important lesson. One evening, he was standing on our dining table and when I came nearer to the table, he saw me and jumped on me. Thankfully, I caught him! He loved doing that and you know what happens when kids love doing something. They do it over and over and over again!! So then, for the next few minutes and the next few days, he would get on the table and without thinking anything just jump on me, trusting that I would catch him. He had no doubt or hesitation in doing something so dangerous. In fact I was more worried about it. But this guy’s confidence, joy and trust made me ensure that I catch him. And how perfectly I can relate it to my relationship with God – my Father! There have been so many instances in which I’ve taken the blind leap of faith and every time He caught me, He didn’t let go of me. We limit God with our limited understanding of Him. We think He can do something and there are a lot of things He can’t do. Well, here’s a reality check for us: “For God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27) In our relationship with God, sometimes what is needed is to keep our logical thinking aside, trust in Him blindly, jump and experience Him catching us, experience His love. Unfailing love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. (Psalm 32:10)
Forgive and forget. Build personal relation with God to hear Him. Blindly trust in God. In a few months’ time, Ahaan taught me these and much more. Now I clearly understand why Jesus says, “unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
I guess, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our educational qualification, our financial status , our social stature, our possessions or lack of them, our achievements or failure……; instead He sees His child. That’s the only thing that matters. He is our loving Father and we are His children. Do we see a Heavenly Father in Him? Do we act like His children?
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. -1John 3:1.