“Mom! Mom,” my 9 year old daughter pipes up from the back seat while driving to an appointment. “I get it! My best day wasn’t the water fight it will be my first day in heaven. Why is the sky blue?”
Conversations like this are par for the course around my house. Random spiritual nuggets thrown into seemingly random places and moments. We weren’t talking about Jesus or heaven, or even our best day ever. In fact, we weren’t really talking at all. Yet, there she was thinking about it.
Our family is friends with a local group of Religious Sisters of Mercy. Many of the sisters are in the field of education, some of them students and co-workers of my husband. After spending an evening with the sisters, one commented in regards to my daughter, “Sometimes I think the veil is just thinner for some kids.”
It stuck with me mostly because it seems to be true. In fact, once I started seeing it I couldn’t unsee it.
Jesus asks us all to become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. How is it that I never considered what a blessing in disguise it could be to never grow up at all (or at least to grow up very, very slowly)? Buried under a myriad of sufferings and anxieties and cares meant for an adult three times her size- under a brain and body that often don’t cooperate with her the way she would like- is an innocence that no one can take from my daughter.
When have I been so excited and grateful for the sacrament of reconciliation that I jumped up and hugged Father? He’s probably grateful for this, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lesson for me anyway.
Do I spend my car ride contemplating the mysteries of heaven or my best day ever?
Have I ever, in the midst of physical suffering, spread joy the way my daughter can making cards and projects for the nursing staff and other kids in the hospital?
And it’s not just the joy, but the intimate nature of her understanding and acceptance of suffering that brings me to my knees. Yes, because I wish I could take it from her, but also because she does it so much more gracefully than I do. Her simple trust that if we are asking her to do something she doesn’t want to do there is a good reason. What if my confidence in the Father was as clear cut as that?
When I think about what it would take for me to become like a little child, I have to look no further than my daughter for a nearly perfect example. Struggling with trust or joy, I need only ask how would Lucie approach this problem. Right after the smile her imagined response brings to my face, comes the realization that her way is most certainly better than whatever I was about to do.
Someday, I’m forced to admit, this grace may seem to disappear from my daughter’s life. When I think about it, however, working with my other children with varied special needs and working in a classroom, even when they don’t have the explicit joy that Lucie does, they do have something. Something I often can’t put my finger on. Some way of expressing mysteries that my adult mind can’t seem to wrap itself around.
I think that sister put it best, for some the veil is just a bit thinner.
And I would add, thank God for that.
Heidi is a country living Catholic mama from Southeast Minnesota. She and her husband homeschool and raise seven living children on 8 acres of grass and mud puddles (plus a house). You can read her blog atwww.workandplaydaybyday.com.
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