The God Card
Yesterday I chose to cancel my attendance at something I held as really important. A date I had kept free in my diary for quite some time for a number of reasons. Quite important reasons. Not cancelled lightly.
And this morning I am sitting here wondering – was it right or wrong? Was this me playing the God Card?
Those times when “do I or don’t I?” is confused with all the personal baggage we carry. The moments when it is “Is that God talking to me or is that me talking to me?” That kind of confusion. When hearing clearly gets a little messy. When those others loved ones all say “don’t worry you have said you will go – now go.” When different opinions all crowd into my very small brain.
Well yesterday morning was one of those noisy moments. I got a string of guilt going quite nicely. Sitting my haunches on the pointy fence of indecision – some righteous “suffering for my faith” kinda stuff.
My absence to a planned few hours would have been adequately covered: “adequately covered”. My wife and I were babysitting our two wee grandchildren, and she would have both of them during my absence. Planned, expected – no problemo leading up to yesterday. We are both parents. My wife is a wonderfully skilled, loving and intuitive mother and Nana. She could have managed these two wee ones for a few hours. Yet – yesterday morning for some reason I could not fathom – that seemed wrong. At the last moment it seemed to be wrong to leave. Without understanding why.
So I found this noisy debate in my head – unexpected and unwelcome.
And it is that which has bothered me since. Is it the “god card” we can all play too quickly? Or is that God trying to make himself heard amongst all the noise? Because – with hindsight – this morning it was still a marginal decision. Open to opposing views then and now. Normal living just another “judgement call” based on … “me.”
Except this one has been on mind. And only with hindsight have I recognised why.
Because my lord asked me this today as I sat and pondered with him.
“When you agree to provide your love even for a day – are you loving or “managing” love? When these two dear souls are entrusted to you by their parents – how much should you compromise? How much would I compromise? How much would you like me to compromise my Love for You? A few hours, a few days, even for a moment? Is that what we share – always – Me compromising my love?”
Because there is something very sacred here. I have mentioned wee Alfie in the past. A beautiful human being blessed with so many things as well as Downs syndrome. His younger brother now a demanding bundle of six months old baby. Both so very special. Both needing the same thing is different ways. Undivided attention and the love to meet their own moment. Managing both as mums have to, as families must – always a balancing act in meeting those moments in the moment. Always a compromise in care and love at different stages of their own growth and living. That is family. That is parenting.
That is not grandparenting. Grandparenting is an opportunity to provide the absence of a balancing act. Usually.
And I found myself still – through guilt at letting others down yesterday still wondering is that “The God card” in action? Me convincing myself? I was right. God says so.
No. Not yesterday. Both of us grandies agreed:
Alfie was not “quite right” – not his usual self. His dilemma that he has no words to express how he feels, how he is. We have to read his way of talking, those subtle small “tells”. We have the responsibility of understanding as much as we can. Not his responsibility. And yesterday balancing our love with others things? That would not have been the love Alfie or his brother deserved.
Yesterday I think God nagged. And, I thank him for this, He has never compromised his love for me. Ever. Not in five decades. Not for one moment. So much so that He is the one and only person I trust without question. Yesterday was a small decision.
Yet … isn’t that why the “big decisions” become easier? Because we trust him with the small stuff day after day?
And then he gave me some practical stuff. Along with a caution – you did let others down needlessly. Try not to do that either.
“Think, Paul, think. Get this stuff in your head before it is last minute indecision. Know the important stuff always. Don’t run around squeezing everything in. And don’t let other people down through lack of thought, lack of prayer, lack of listening when all is going okay. Talk to me always, and I will help you look ahead. Walk with me when it is routine, not just when you feel burdened. Yesterday was important. Just not in the way others might see it from the outside.”
So this morning I rest content that yesterday was the “better decision” – not the “right decision” nor the only and obvious decision. Just the better one. And one I could have planned better. Will plan better next time.