When I first became a father, I thought I had a glimpse of what it must be like to see with the eyes of God. Holding my newborn sons, two years apart, while gazing down on them in my arms gave me the greatest sense of wonder and joy, and peace. And love! While no human experience can match exactly the infinite love that is God, for me parenting was a good start. And then I became a grandparent; now, that gets me miles and miles closer to what God must feel about us, his children!
When I look at my three and five year-old grandsons, whether they are playing quietly on the floor with their Paw Patrol characters, or wholly engaged in “The Incredibles” for the second time on a Friday night, or fighting madly over a piece of candy one stole from the other’s backpack, or sleeping soundly in a nest of blankets on the guest futon for a “pend-the-night” Saturday night at GiGi’s, I see them as pure joy. I see them in what Thomas Merton called, their True-Selves.
The True-Self, is the naked, transparent, vulnerable, joyful, guileless, giving, receiving, loving person God called from eternity, in each one of us, his children. It matters not where, when, how, or under what circumstances one was born. It matters not that the True-Self may not be visible to anyone, or even sometimes to yourself. It’s there. God planted it in you, and no matter what you do, it will always be there. God’s open and eternal invitation to you, is to discover and live your True-Self. When you do that, according to Merton, you will find God.
Do not confuse True-Self with someone’s true colors or that’s who they really are when referring to some less-than-perfect person you may know. After all we all act imperfectly at one time or another. No, one’s True-Self is perfect. God made it, and God doesn’t make mistakes or malfunctioning human spiritual hardware. We each start from perfection, and then God gives us the wheel, and allows us to make our own decisions and choices. That’s where we either stray or stay within our True-Self.
With my grandfather eyes, I most often see my two grandsons as the perfect little souls that God made them to be, their True-Selves, regardless of the occasional fights, slipped naughty word, runny noses, incessant requests for drinks, or snacks, (just as I am sitting down from a previous request) and all the other minor irritations that little ones present. But I don’t mind. I see through the outer crusts of discord, to the internal, infinite beauty that they are.
In myself, I try, …and fail each day to keep that outer crust as thin as possible and let my True-Self be my every day self. But, it ain’t easy!
I pray God has a kind of patience with me that I feel with my grandsons. Only my True-Self can hope, and trust he does.