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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Faith like Olivia

We are reading The Pearl in my Medieval English Lit class, it was written by the same poet who composed Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. You can find a translation here. It's an awesome poem written about 125 years pre-reformation. You can see the churning of a "By grace, through faith" mentality within its ideals. If you want to read a good dream-vision I highly recommend it.


The Pearl (a very young girl who has died and is visiting her father in a dream) is suggesting that one must have faith like a child in order to enter the kingdom heaven. Sounds good, but she gets it a little wrong. You'll have to read it to make your own assumptions, but it got me thinking about what faith like a child is like. What better place to begin but to study my own faith-filled child?

Olivia doesn't even think about it. She believes that God will take care of her effortlessly. It is just a fact that God will provide me to come and pick her up and feed her, and Rob will make money for us to have a place to live. She knows God is providing her family for her and it is just the way it is.

Olivia is blessed with the lack of worry. She doesn't have the time to worry about tommorow. She doesn't have the time to worry about five minutes from now. It is clear that she has one thing on her mind. Right now. She's rolling, chomping, chewing, eating and sleeping as though there were no other option. And you can tell it by the way she changes from one activity to the other. She's happy as a clam, sitting and chewing on a red block. Then, without any noticable transition, she's starving and calling out me to feed her. She's completely forgotten the red block, and hasn't even thought forward ten minutes from now until nap time.

She is even more blessed by her acceptance of grace without question. She has not yet learned to harbor guilt for her sins. She bit me hard a few nights ago, and I cried out, and she was disciplined (She had to stop eating and I made Rob put her back in bed, it was 4 am, don't worry we aren't starving her). I guess that wasn't really a sin, it was an accident. But it's as close as I can think of since she is only 6 months old. Any way, supposing it was a sin, she hasn't thought about it since. It's gone and buried. She certainly dosen't worry about her salvation.

I know this is all speculative, and even a little obtuse. Like I said, she is 6 months old, how do I know what she's thinking?

I compare this to myself. I question constantly. I am up right now at a quarter to two because I can't sleep. Olivia was crying when we went to bed, and I wasn't sure what to do. Part of me wants to go pick her up love on her, and feed her. But another voice is saying, "She's just got to learn to put herself back to sleep. She's at the separation anxiety phase now, and she'll get worse if you feed her. She'll start to expect it." Both of these thoughts are pounding away in my head, and I can't decide what to do. All the while Olivia is crying. A few nights ago she went to sleep fine after about 5 minutes of crying, that's not bad. But this is going on for about 20 minutes now, and Rob has to work 14 hours tomorrow. I need to do something, so I go pick her up and her face is all wet. I feed her and she gulps it down like she's never ate before in her whole life. I know she was eating because she was upset, and not because she was hungry, but still. Is it so bad to feed your upset baby?

Now I'm feeling guilty for giving in, and feeding her. I know that there are people who are saying that I wasn't being consistent enough. I also feel guilty for not picking her up sooner because it breaks my heart every time I feel tears on my sweet baby's face. I'm not even sure I sinned, but I'm still feeling the burdon of guilt! This is why I need to have faith like Olivia.

I need to rest in the comfort of Jesus' sacrifice for me. I need to remember that God has given us forgiveness. And even more practically, I need to remember that as long as I love Olivia, it won't matter whether I fed her tonight or not. I have not broken my baby. As long as I do my best to grow her up in the Lord, she will hopefully turn out to be a decent human being that is thankful for me and Rob. And even if she is a terror at times, Jesus will and has pardoned her sins already. And right now, I need to go to bed.

Thank you for reading my ramblings. I didn't know I would have so much to say. ;-)

(p.s.) My spell check isn't working, and we all know how well I do without it, so give me grace. :)