On the hard nights, when she stumbles and tumbles and stutters and her world blurs and bends, she asks me to take her head in my hands, wash it in clean water, wash away this world and float her off to freedom. In the water, she is whole. She floats free from the chains of a body still ravaged by an illness done 3 years ago. Her spirit and her mind rest in the quiet pillow of warmth, the world buffeted away by the sprinkling and the stroking.
Is it touch, the magic of water, the floating free? Is it Mama and she alone that dredges the cares of a long day away from a tired 6-year-old frame and brings that sweet smile back to her gaunt cheeks?
She lays back, and trusts completely. Mama has her head in her hands. She won't go under. She won't drown in this tub. She is safe.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:1-4)
The pain in my arthritic hands floats away in the warmth, my pain leeching away with hers. The giver herself blessed by the giving (Proverbs 22:9).
He says that we who are thirsty should drink freely from the well. That He is springs of Living Water that will restore our very souls. I am learning these lessons in 20 minute sessions, at the feet of my child who leads me to the calm of the Father through this diorama of faith lived out in the everyday of our evenings. That when I am lost and troubled, there is peace in the arms of the Parent. When I am weak and weary, there is Life in the water.
Perhaps this is what it means to "turn and become like a child" - to humble oneself to learn life's deepest lessons in a shallow tub from the smallest and least of these, our own children, who somehow know Truth in ways we cannot grasp with all our adult intelligence, debate and study. To simply be still, to simply believe, to simply receive the gift of the moment - is this what He means when He welcomes me to drink at the well and be filled?
I stroke her hair, and I long for the complete and utter peace I see wash over her tiny face. Oh, to trust so deeply that I can rest like that! Help me, Father, to become like these little children, and rest in You. To let your whispers of touch and washing of my feet be the comfort my weary mind aches for.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)