Like a Little Child

The plan for today’s blog… was to write it last week.

Also, I had a plan to write some pretty high-theology stuff about the Sacred Feminine and “Mother God”.

While I think that it’s important to talk about complex/controversial topics – of which the role of the feminine in our faith is one of the most complex and (unfortunately) controversial – there are authors in the Blogosphere who are better educated, more well-read, and far better equipped to write about high theology than I am.

Instead, I’m going to write about something that I am very familiar with – something that most of us are familiar with, but that many of us are very uncomfortable talking about.

Need.

It’s a terrible thing to admit, that we need. It’s an admission of vulnerability, of frailty, in a culture that celebrates strength and impenetrability.

Anyone who suffers with an extended illness – be it physical or mental – is an expert on need. The same is true for people with disabilities.

I hate my need. It disgusts me. It flies in the face of everything that I’ve been taught about being an American man.

I’m the oldest of all of my parents’ children. I’ve been a soldier, a medic, responsible for the lives of other men and women. I’m a husband and father, a provider and protector. Men like me are the people that others need. We don’t need anything that we can’t provide for ourselves.

We don’t need affirmation.

We don’t need love.

We don’t need help.

As someone who has struggled with a number of concurrent mental illnesses, I have been forced to swallow my pride on more than a few occasions. I have been forced to acknowledge my own need on a sometimes daily basis. And I often don’t know what I need each day, until I am in the throes of that need – until the need has taken hold of me and controls me.

It makes me feel weak. It makes me feel helpless. It makes me feel… like a child.

Like a child.

We don’t judge children for needing – we just love them. We give them what they need without asking why. We expect it of children, we even feel like poor caretakers if our children don’t need us.

“If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Jesus knew something about need. He not only acknowledged our need without judgement, but He blessed our need.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”

As I thought about this topic over the past few days, I looked at my own children. They aren’t embarrassed to need me; shame is something that is learned, that is taught.

When did I learn to be ashamed of my need? When did needing comfort or affirmation become a sin?

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them (make a way for them), for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

We act out the Kingdom of God in our need, not in our sufficiency. It is in our need that we are honest, that we know each other as God knows us. It is in our need that we are most like little children, coming to Jesus and each other with open hands and open hearts.

We know our children’s love for us when they need us. We show our love by providing for those needs.

What if we all lived in that relationship with each other, instead of constantly trying to display our false sense of sufficiency? What if we embraced our need, and approached each other with open hands instead of fists closed tightly? What if we called out to each other, instead of suffering in silence?

Could we live in right relationship with God, by living in this relationship with each other? Would we discover that we are vulnerable and deficient alone, but that together we are strong and more than enough?

I believe that we would discover this and more. I believe that we would find the Keys to the Kingdom in meeting each others’ needs. I believe that we would understand more about ourselves, each other and the heart of God by living with open hands and hearts than we will with another thousand years of debating High Theology.

But, we’ll keep debating, and the debates will be good and lively. God help me to remember that my need is far greater than my knowledge.

My love to you, wherever you are.

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