Walking to my place of employment in New Orleans one morning after a hard rainstorm the night before, I laughed as I watched two ducks enjoying the rain puddles that had accumulated on the lawn. They ran, in their waddling fashion, at full speed and, on reaching the puddle in the slippery, wet grass, they tucked in their feet, hit the water and…
SSSSSSSSLLLLLIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDDEEEEEE! It was a ducky, nature-made Slip-n-Slide!
It reminded me of all the times when rain puddles would accumulate in the low parts of the driveway of my childhood home. After the storm was over, I would go outside in bare feet and stomp around in the cool puddles.
I think I envied those ducks, that day. They don’t grow up and get all sensible and responsible about life, jobs, and other expectations. It rains, and they glory in it. They see a puddle and they splash and slide.
In his Rule, St. Benedict calls for consideration of the wisdom of the young when the community is summoned for counsel and discussion. He writes, “The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger” (R.B. 3.3). St. Benedict more than likely is basing his advice on the words of Jesus, who advises that we have the heart of a child so as to discern the wisdom of God:
Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me. – Mark 9:37
Life has a way of hardening our hearts against further wounding. We gain much experience along the way, but we lose something essentially human within ourselves when we lose the innocence of a child. We doubt ourselves and distrust the wisdom of our inner voice that knows something far deeper and wiser than intellect, schooling, and training can offer.
I need to remember this and to be attentive to the child within who remembers the feel of a good, cool rain puddle on her feet and bare legs, the wind against her face as she swings higher and higher, and who delights in making her loved ones smile.
That, too, is crucial to remember . . . God smiles at me when I receive the child.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.
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