Oh, I got all sorts of things done. In a number of ways life was easier.
For instance, I made a lot of headway on a backyard redesign without a 17-pound-wiggle-worm perched on my right arm. I was able to get paperwork done without having to beg a small someone every three minutes to stop shredding it. I got to go to a sports bar and watch the NBA playoffs without having to go through 35 steps to prepare infant gear.
On a surface level life was easier without her and more trouble with her. It certainly was less messy when Reese was gone. But life was not better.
*** Sometimes life was simply better when I would blow off productivity and play “Rip the Sunday Ads” with Reese on the living room floor, even if some of my paperwork got shredded by baby hands.
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, reminds us that God wasn’t productive every day of the week. Play and rest are as much a part of God’s “plan” as work. And, if we are made in this God’s image, then the same sort of “plan” is likely intended for us as well.
*** Sometimes life was simply better when I would sit there and be present with Reese and hear her first give the name “One Baba” to her favorite blanket.
Genesis reminds us that God gave Adam the honor of naming the animals. What fun that must have been. I got to see a hint of it there on the floor doing nothing with Reese and her Baba. But I could have missed it.
*** Sometimes life was simply better when in the evening, as an infant, Reese was tired and her defenses were down and she’d get the crazy giggles. In such moments any “peekaboo”-type surprises or “whakawhakawhaka”-like sounds would cause her to lose it. Mindy and I called such periods “Delirium,” and pushing Reese into them was great fun. She would never be the only one laughing.
Genesis reminds us that in the cool of the evening God walked the garden with his people. Surely this was a time of laughter as much as it was a time of prayer. Or perhaps laughter and prayer were two parts of the same coin.
It is often messy for Reese to be here, especially when a temper tantrum ruins a plan or disrupts a group. But it is better for her to be here. It is better to regularly “waste” time with her, to be in relationship with her. I would be less myself without her.
In Christian teaching there is the understanding of God as “Trinity.” Jesus says at the end of Matthew’s version of the gospel story, “Go and make disciples of all nations in the (singular) name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit….”
In Christian belief this understanding means that the one, true God of Heaven and Earth is not a lonely old man sitting atop some celestial mountain. God, to be truly “himself,” is a dynamic relationship of Three sharing honor, trust, mission, and life as One. God is a community, a relationship.
In Christian belief it is also said, through the words of Genesis, that we are created in the image of this God.
So it stands to reason that we are not created to be alone and isolated. We are created needing to share honor, trust, mission, and life with one another. In community we find the life of the one, true God who is a community of love.
Personally that means I need Reese, even as she needs me. I need others to be who I was made to be in the image of God.
Life may be easier without all the people (isn’t that the old joke?). It may often be messier with a community of blood or Spirit around us. But it is better. And, full life is not possible without it.
That’s why we can never do church just through a computer or a TV screen. None of us were designed to make it on our own.