Friday, May 8, 2009

My Other Spiritual Director

I am very blessed to have Father as my Spiritual Director. He is kind, compassionate, devout, intelligent, and wise in so many ways. He knows when to be gentle with me, and when I need a little kick in the pants. It's not easy to find a Spiritual Director, especially one that is such a good fit. So, I know that I am blessed to have Father in my life.

But he is not my only Spiritual Director. Perhaps because God knows that I can be stubborn and hard-headed. Perhaps because God knows that I am often quick-to-anger and hard-hearted. Perhaps because God knows I need a lot more guidance, on a daily basis, than Father can give me in a once-a-month meeting.

Whatever the reason, God has blessed me with a second Spiritual Director... one who lives with me, loves me unconditionally, and (at least for now) loves to be with me as much as she can. My other Spiritual Director is my five year old daughter, Princess.

Princess has the most real relationship with Jesus I have ever seen. Jesus is her friend. Not in an abstract way, or a Hallmark-card way, or even a Sunday-school-Jesus-loves-me way. No. He is real. She talks to him all the time, sharing her little joys, sorrows, worries. She asks him questions, sings him songs, and goes about her day with Jesus as one of her constant companions.

When we were at the Giant Cross in Groom, TX, I watched Princess from a distance. She was in the midst of the most animated conversation with a statue of Jesus. I tried to capture the moment, without disturbing it. I was fascinated. What was she saying? Was he responding?

As I approached them, she looked up and came running over to me. "Mama, look, Jesus is crying." I walked up to the statue. Next to it stood a marker offering prayers for victims of abortion. Jesus was kneeling in bronze, crying, holding a tiny fetus in his right hand. "Why is he crying, Mama?"

I watched her walk around the back of the statue, wrap her arms around Jesus and kiss his cheek. "Don't cry, Jesus. It's ok. I love you."

She looked up at me again. "Mama, why is Jesus crying?"

I paused. Then I pointed to the fetus. "See that baby? Well, Jesus loves all of the babies, especially the really tiny ones. And he wants us to love all of the babies... especially the really tiny ones."

"Well, I love babies, Mama. It's ok, Jesus. I'll love the babies for you." She leaned over, kissed him one more time, and then skipped off.

I watched her run off toward her brothers. This is what it means to have a child-like faith. Not a childish faith; a child-like faith. Pure, complete trust that God exists, that He loves, that He is present, and that we are precious to Him.

A few weeks ago, when we were at the wake for my mother-in-law's friend, Princess wanted a prayer card. It had the "Footprints" poem on the back, and I read it to her, explaining as I went. The next morning, Princess broke down at the end of the funeral mass, as they led the coffin out of the church. I sat in the pew and held her on my lap, crying softly with her, wanting to take her pain away. She looked up at me, eyes glistening, and whispered, "Mama, is Jesus carrying me right now?" I nodded, choking back a sob. "Good. Because this is a hard day, Mama."

When LilBro was born, more than a few nurses made the comment that Princess was my "rose between two thorns." At the time, I was more insulted that my sons were referred to as thorns than appreciative of Princess being called out as something special. But again and again in the past five years, she has been my teacher, my guide. Especially in matters of the heart, and matters of faith.

I don't know if I will ever be able to approach God with the certainty and trust that Princess does, but if she will keep on teaching me, I may just get there some day.


  1. OK, I had to respond to this one. Just to say--I just so get the gift of Princess. Yours and mine. Thanks for sharing (expressing, reminding) the joy of a little daughter.


  2. Jane,

    Thanks for your comment. Your little Princess ALWAYS makes me smile. I think it's time for a Princess Tea Party, as soon as you get back into town!