As I scooped him up in my arms, he let out a blood curdling scream. I was sure that everyone within a 5 mile radius would conclude that I was kidnapping my little three year old blond-headed likeness from the play ground. I made the decision to scoop him up after his third “I have to make pee-pee” announcement. Potty training my little strong willed tyrant has been the bane of my existence for the past year. Yes, you heard me correctly, YEAR! We are now in the “I don’t want to stop playing, mommy so please make my pee-pee feeling go away without the potty” phase. He screamed all the way to the car, then the nearby store and then the bathroom where he relieved himself of a full gallon of fluid after which we both felt so much better.
Naturally, my prayers lately have been for patience and wisdom. How do I foster his independence without giving up all control? At three, he obviously still needs boundaries and direction but I don’t want to squash his little forming and wonderful personality. I don’t want his world to turn into No!, Don’t!, and Stop! At times, I feel like I walking a difficult tight rope and hoping there is a net down there somewhere to catch me.
While walking my well traveled tight rope the other day, I wondered if God feels this frustration with me. A resounding YES immediately rang through my brain. I chuckled. I have to admit that my little three year old tyrant owes is strong independent spirit to his mother. My own mother has a book full of similar stories that she has recounted to me over the years. She is very familiar with my tightrope. And I am very sure she is enjoys watching her grown tyrant try to parent a little tyrant clone.
My mother’s frustration with my childhood independence is probably only a fraction of the frustration God feels with my adult independence. He is very patient with my unwillingness to surrender. He waits as I give up control a little bit at a time. He showers me with unconditional love no matter how hard I try to hold onto the steering wheel. I am fully aware of the boundless infinite love and patience of God.
Being that God is my creator, I have to wonder why he made me this way. Why do I have such an unrelenting independent streak? Why is He making it so hard on Himself to parent me? And then what I learned in my adult catechism class came rushing back: the gift of choice. God made us to love but he does not make us love. Love is our choice. My independence is the result of His gift of choice. The trinity shares a perfect agape love. It’s a love with no conditions or expectations. The three persons in the trinity completely give themselves to each other. God wants to share this love with us. He completely gives himself to us on the cross and in the Eucharist. And his heart aches for us to give our hearts to him. Even though he is the all powerful God, he doesn’t make us love him. Love cannot be forced. He gives us our independence, loves us with his agape love and waits for us to love him back. So, maybe I need to stop kicking and screaming and just surrender and let him scoop me up into his strong and loving arms.